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US reaction to ICC targeting Netanyahu is ‘curious’ – Kremlin

A US senator has pledged to levy “damning” sanctions on the International Criminal Court

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has expressed surprise over Washington’s harsh reaction to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) motion seeking arrest warrants for the Israeli prime minister and defense chief.

The ICC’s top prosecutor, Karim Khan, requested the warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday. He stated that there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that the top officials were guilty of “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in the Gaza conflict. Khan also said he is seeking warrants for three senior members of Hamas.

“The situation is more than curious with the attitude of the United States, and its readiness to use sanctions methods even in relation to the ICC… Very interesting,” Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.

The spokesman noted that Russia does not recognize ICC decisions, but is “carefully observing” the developments.   

Both Israel and its main ally, the US, have condemned the ICC announcement, with President Joe Biden denouncing it on Monday as “outrageous.”

Netanyahu branded the decision by the ICC prosecutor “absurd,” claiming it “undermines every democracy’s right to defend itself.” He also noted that the court has “no jurisdiction over Israel.”

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ICC prosecutor’s move to arrest Israeli officials ‘outrageous’ – Biden

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington “fundamentally rejects” the “shameful” attempt to equate Israel with Hamas.

Senator Lindsey Graham went further, pledging on Monday in a post on X (formerly Twitter) to “feverishly” work with lawmakers in both chambers to “levy damning sanctions against the ICC.”

Israel is not a member of the ICC and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the court, but the State of Palestine joined the organization in 2015. The US was one of the creators of the ICC, but Congress never ratified the Rome Statute. Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and dozens of other countries also do not accept the court’s jurisdiction.

However, some 124 countries around the globe have signed and ratified the Rome Statute, including all EU member states and all candidates, except Ukraine and Türkiye. If warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant are issued, it could severely complicate the Israeli leader’s ability to travel abroad.

 

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