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Give ICC prosecutor ‘taste of own medicine,’ senators tell US attorney general

Karim Khan, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, provided "material support" to Hamas, the senators wrote.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers remarks during a Medal of Valor ceremony on May 16, 2022, in the East Room of the White House as U.S. President Joe Biden looks on. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers remarks during a Medal of Valor ceremony on May 16, 2022, in the East Room of the White House as U.S. President Joe Biden looks on. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.

Four Republican senators are urging Merrick Garland, the U.S. attorney general, to investigate the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor, whom they accused of having “broken American law by materially supporting terrorism through his unjust and unjustified targeting of Israel’s prime minister and defense minister.”

The ICC, a judicial arm of the United Nations in The Hague, took “action against Israel—which Hamas requested and now applauds” that “manifestly provides ‘material support’ to Hamas by attempting to isolate Israel politically and diplomatically through legal advocacy for Hamas,” per the letter, which Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) led.

“The extent of ICC-Hamas coordination is unknown, but express statements by Mr. Khan and others associated with the prosecution suggest that the coordination may have been extensive,” the letter added.

Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) were the other signatories.

“Hamas, which has governed Gaza for nearly 20 years, is a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization. Federal law prohibits any material support to terrorist groups, including ‘expert advice or assistance,’ which the law defines as ‘advice or assistance derived from scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge,'” the senators wrote.

“The use of an international organization to advance the interests of a terrorist organization can qualify as material support, particularly when done ‘in coordination’ with such groups,” they added.

The senators wrote that Hamas requested and applauded the ICC’s action against the Jewish state which “manifestly provides ‘material support’ to Hamas by attempting to isolate Israel politically and diplomatically through legal advocacy for Hamas.”

The four senators noted that the witnesses from whom Khan took “evidence” when requesting arrest warrants for Israeli leaders could have been “Hamas members, agents, or sympathizers.” They added that the U.N. prosecutor said he consulted with “local … doctors” in Gaza.

“Of course, Gazan hospitals are often Hamas military bases, operated with the cooperation of medical staff, some of whom are senior Hamas officials,” they wrote. “Mr. Khan also visited the Rafah border crossing in February, which Hamas controlled at the time.”

The senators sought information about Khan’s sources under Hamas control, who arranged his trip to and security in Rafah and his contacts with organizations with Hamas ties.

“ICC prosecutors aren’t above the law. Nor is Mr. Khan’s potential criminal liability diminished by his request for arrest warrants against Hamas officials,” the senators wrote. “In fact, his simultaneous requests may have been designed to equate the terrorists who orchestrated the Oct. 7 massacre and continue to hold innocent civilian hostages with the leaders of our democratic ally.”

“Not only is such false equivalency through legal advocacy unconscionable, but it, too, provides material support to Hamas,” they added.

The senators called on the U.S. attorney general to investigate the U.N. prosecutor immediately.

“If not, we suspect a more responsible administration will do so next year,” they wrote. “Either way, Mr. Khan is due for a taste of his own medicine.”

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