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Over 120 rights organizations urge U.S. president to respect ICC independence

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published May 23,2024
U.S. President Joe Biden (EPA File Photo)

A total of 121 human rights and civil society groups called on U.S. President Joe Biden to respect and support the independence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to reject sanctions threatened against the court's officials.

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 U.S. lawmakers 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 U.S. 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 U.S. lawmakers 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 Defense Minister Gallant. The request also included Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh, Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, also known as Mohammed Deif.