The U.S. secretary of state called the International Criminal Court “a political tool that makes a mockery of the law.”
By Ebin Sandler, World Israel News
On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement commenting on the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) plan to pursue Israel for alleged “war crimes” during the 2014 war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“The International Criminal Court is a political body, not a judicial institution,” said Pompeo in the statement. “This unfortunate reality has been confirmed yet again by the ICC Prosecutor’s attempt to assert jurisdiction over Israel, which like the United States, is not a party to the Rome Statute that created the Court.”
Pompeo specifically referred to an April 30 filing in which ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda claimed that “Palestine” is a state and that the court has jurisdiction over areas in Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip and eastern portions of Jerusalem. This filing followed a December ruling by Bensouda claiming there was “a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation” into war crimes allegations directed at Israel and Hamas.
Addressing the jurisdictional issue, Pompeo noted, “As we made clear when the Palestinians purported to join the Rome Statute, we do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state, and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC.”
Pompeo continued, “Seven states that are party to the Rome Statute – Australia, Austria, Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, and Uganda – have made formal submissions to the Court that assert that the ICC does not have jurisdiction to proceed with this investigation. We concur.”
The secretary of state called the ICC a court “attempt[ing] to exercise its power outside its jurisdiction,” referring to it as “a political tool that makes a mockery of the law and due process.”
Pompeo concluded, “The United States reiterates its longstanding objection to any illegitimate ICC investigations. If the ICC continues down its current course, we will exact consequences.”
The statement was released a day after Pompeo returned from Israel, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny Gantz to discuss the Iranian threat, the coronavirus pandemic, and Israel’s plans to annex Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.