US House Passes Bill to Impose Sanctions on International Criminal Court 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives passed legislation to impose sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

The Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act essentially punishes the ICC for going after a major US ally. If passed, the legislation would sanction those involved in any effort to investigate, arrest, detain or prosecute any protected person of the United States and its allies. 

The legislation comes about two weeks after the ICC announced arrest warrants for top Israeli and Hamas officials in response to the October 7 attacks and the war that followed. Included, were Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense minister and three Hamas officials on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

Both sides of the aisle were unified in their criticism of the move, calling it “disgraceful.” 

“I thought the ICC ruling was trash,” said Senator John Fetterman (D- PA) following the announcement in May. “I mean, I can’t imagine why you could create a moral equivalence between Israel, a democratic ally, or a terrorist organization of cowards and rapists,” Fetterman added. 

In the weeks since, House Republicans have been pushing for legislation to crack down on the ICC, arguing that the court, which the US and Israel are not members of, has overstepped its authority. 

“The ICC, number one, is out of its league. It doesn’t have jurisdiction,” said Congressman Jack Bergman (R- MI), who voted today in favor of the legislation because he believes it sends a strong message. 

“You are just in an area where you shouldn’t be because the United States has a right to exist, the state of Israel has a right to exist. And for the ICC to get in the middle of that, they shouldn’t be there,” said Bergman. 

Bipartisan negotiations to craft the bill were less successful than House Democrats were hoping. They argue the legislation is premature, too broad and would have an adverse impact. 

“In this instance, this bill would have a chilling effect on the ICC as an institution and hamper the court’s efforts to prosecute serious atrocities that have been perpetrated in many places around the world,” said Rep. Gergory Meeks (D- NY). “We can’t forget that the ICC is a venue through which we can hold accountable bad actors.”  

It’s passage in the House comes just days after Speaker Mike Johnson (R- LA) officially invited Netanyahu to deliver an address to Congress. 

The White House has expressed opposition to the bill, which means the Democratic-controlled Senate is unlikely to consider it.