May 8, 2021

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Israel urged US not to lift Trump-era ICC sanctions: report | ICC News

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The United States and Israel previously condemned the Hague-based tribunal for opening the door to an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged US President Joe Biden not to lift sanctions imposed on International Criminal Court (ICC) officials by the administration of former President Donald Trump, according to an Axios report.

Biden administration pledged to ‘thoroughly review’ sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, who had accused The Hague court of violating US sovereignty by allowing an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by US forces in Afghanistan.

Israel has increased pressure on the ICC following its ruling in early February that the court’s jurisdiction extends to the occupied Palestinian territories, paving the way for initiate war crimes investigations committed by both Israelis and Palestinians, according to the report.

Israel and the United States were quick to condemn the court’s announcement, with Israel accusing the court of “sheer anti-Semitism” and the United States saying it had “serious concerns” about the decision of the court and adding that they were reviewing the decision.

Neither allies are parties to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, and both have sought to protect their citizens from prosecution.

Washington, however, has supported and engaged the Court in various forms since it began operating in 2002.

The struggle for the court’s jurisdiction presented an early challenge for the Biden administration, which is seeking to re-engage in multilateral organizations.

Israel, meanwhile, has reportedly urged its allies to pressure ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, one of the authorities currently under US sanctions, not to pursue any investigation involving Israelis.

On February 13, British lawyer Karim Khan was elected the next ICC prosecutor to replace Bensouda, who is retiring in June. Khan, 50, has conducted a United Nations investigation into atrocities committed by the armed group ISIL (ISIS).

Axios reported that Israeli diplomats are urging US officials to maintain sanctions as leverage and that the issue was also raised during a call between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Israeli counterpart Gabriel Ashkenazi.





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