Congress Urges Trump Admin to Stop ICC Investigations Into U.S., Israel

Getty Images
May 13, 2020

A group of nearly 300 members of Congress is calling on the Trump administration to stop the International Criminal Court's "politically motivated investigations" of the United States and Israel.

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the bipartisan group of lawmakers urged the administration to "marshal a diplomatic initiative with like-minded countries who are members of the ICC to call on the ICC to cease its politically motivated investigations into the United States and Israel."

The ICC has been pursuing war crimes cases against the United States and Israel that both countries have called illegitimate. The Washington Free Beacon first reported earlier this month that the ICC's cases are being driven by nonprofit organizations found to have ties to designated terror groups.

The United States and Israel are not members of the court and both have routinely criticized the international body for conducting politically motivated investigations, such as those into Israel's counterterrorism operations and the United States' actions in Afghanistan.

The lawmakers—including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.), and Reps. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.), Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.), and Michael McCaul (R., Texas), among 260 others—say the ICC is unfit to carry out any investigation into the United States or Israel.

"The Court's recent announcements are examples of how politics have been infused into the judicial process and distorted the purposes for which the court was established," they wrote.

The lawmakers maintain that the ICC's pursuit of charges against Israel is part of a larger effort by pro-Palestinian factions to undermine American efforts to foster a peace deal.

"With respect to the possible case against Israel, we are concerned that those pressing for action seek a court judgment in place of a negotiation process between Israelis and Palestinians," the lawmakers wrote. "The ultimate sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies in the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian direct negotiations in pursuit of a two-state solution—not in the pursuit of cases at the ICC. These cases distract from and undermine our efforts to get the parties back to the table."