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Over 120 rights organisations urge US President to respect ICC independence

May 23, 2024 at 5:51 pm

U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington DC, United States on May 13, 2024. [Celal Güneş – Anadolu Agency]

A total of 121 human rights and civil society called on US President, Joe Biden, to respect and support the independence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to reject sanctions threatened groups against the Court’s officials, Anadolu Agency reports.

The groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, highlighted the ICC’s role in ensuring justice for grave international crimes in a letter to Biden on Thursday.

They urged the Biden administration to denounce recent threats by some US inspectors to sanction ICC officials if arrest warrants were pursued against top Israeli officials accused of war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

“Acting on these calls would do grave harm to the interests of all victims globally and to the US government’s ability to champion human rights and the cause of justice, which are stated priorities of your administration,” it said.

Underlining full respect for the ICC is required for it to provide justice for victims, it said: “A selective approach to judicial decisions undermines the credibility, and ultimately, the force of the law as a shield against human rights violations and abuses.”

“We urge you to oppose any legislative efforts to undermine the ICC, and to make clear that regardless of its views on specific ICC investigations, the United States continues to support independent international justice mechanisms,” the letter added.

Previously, some US secretaries threatened the ICC about “consequences” for the Court’s decision to seek arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials accused of war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

ICC Prosecutor, Karim Khan, applied for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, and Defence Minister, Gallant. The request also included Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh, Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri, also known as Mohammed Deif.

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