GOP Rep Calls on DOJ to Investigate International Court for Ties to Terror

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) has urged Attorney General William Barr to investigate the International Criminal Court (ICC), alleging the court has ties to terrorist groups months after it launched an investigation into alleged U.S. war crimes.

Biggs, who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, wrote a letter to Barr calling for the investigation on Friday. The letter states that "shocking information" reveals ties between terrorist groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in both the investigation of alleged U.S. war crimes and a separate ICC investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes.

"The Netherlands-based ICC has always been a travesty, but its recent cases against the United States and Israel are especially absurd," Biggs said in a statement. "It is outrageous to claim that our brave soldiers have committed 'crimes against humanity' while fighting terrorists in Afghanistan."

"While the ICC has no jurisdiction over our own country, it wields considerable influence over global affairs," he added. "I urge my congressional colleagues to fight the ICC attacks on Israel and the U.S. The Department of Justice should resist the ICC. Americans should realize that the ICC is an enemy to freedom and is morally bankrupt."

In March, ICC prosecutors opened an investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The allegations were part of a preliminary examination that was first launched in 2006, but ICC prosecutors had been blocked from starting a full investigation until this year.

The allegations include claims that the U.S. military and the CIA "resorted to techniques amounting to the commission of the war crimes of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape" while conducting interrogations in Afghanistan. Most of the alleged abuses occurred between 2003 and 2004.

Rep. Andy Biggs
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) votes against the impeachment of President Donald Trump during a House hearing in Washington, D.C. on December 13, 2019. Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty

In June, President Donald Trump issued an executive order in response to the investigation, authorizing sanctions against anyone involved in the ICC investigations, potentially including family members who are not directly involved. The administration noted that the U.S. is not under ICC jurisdiction and insists that the court is rife with "corruption" and that the investigation is "politically motivated."

An ICC investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israeli forces in Palestinian-controlled areas was launched late last year. Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu said that the allegations were unfounded and denounced them as "pure anti-Semitism."

Biggs's letter cites a "compelling" report from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a conservative group funded in part by major Trump donor Sheldon Adelson, which describes "striking parallels" between the ICC's U.S. and Israeli investigations. Biggs also cites his own report, which details alleged relationships between NGOs involved in both investigations, as well as relationships between the NGOs and terrorist groups.

"Specifically, the two international NGOs advancing the case against the U.S., the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), have strong ties to the Palestinian NGOs that brought the complaint against Israel to the ICC—Al-Haq, Palestinian Center for Human Rights PCHR), Al Mezan and Al-Dameer—and were intimately involved in their submissions to the court," Biggs writes in his report.

Biggs goes on to say that the NGOs involved "have strong ties" to groups officially designated as "foreign terrorist organizations" by the U.S., including Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Barr is urged to help "fight back" by taking action against the ICC's "spurious agenda."

Newsweek reached out to the Department of Justice for comment.