ICC Lacks Moral and Legal Authority to Issue Israel Arrest Warrants

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is reportedly considering issuing warrants for the arrest of senior Israeli officials, which would make them subject to arrest if they travel to any of the over 120 ICC member states. The ICC lacks the jurisdiction to try cases in or against Israel. If it is allowed to issue arrest warrants for Israeli officials, it would set a precedent that would endanger citizens of countries outside the ICC’s jurisdiction, particularly U.S. officials and servicemembers. Fear of future ICC action against them could restrain officials from the United States and Israel from taking lawful actions necessary to protect their citizens.

In keeping with longstanding U.S. policy, codified in U.S. law, to protect the citizens of Major non-NATO Ally states like Israel, the United States must unequivocally convey to ICC prosecutors that issuing arrest warrants for Israeli officials will have boomeranging consequences, including U.S. sanctions, for the ICC should it proceed with the measure. America must also unambiguously state that any country that complies with an ICC arrest warrant for Israeli officials would face a U.S. backlash of serious magnitude, including, but not limited, to sanctions.