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Hansen: Respect international criminal courts


“The effects of the use of starvation as a method of warfare ... against the civilian population of Gaza are acute, visible and widely known, and have been confirmed by multiple witnesses interviewed by my Office, including local and international medical doctors.” — Statement by International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan.

A Republican-sponsored bill, the Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act, passed the House of Representatives on June 4 with a bipartisan vote of 247 to 155. The legislation imposes sanctions on “foreign persons” who aid the ICC.

According to Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), “We will not stand idly by as our ally is faced with illegitimate and baseless prosecutorial actions for simply defending themselves.”

Notably, on the same day the bill passed, the global poverty organization Oxfam issued a press release titled, “Famine risk increases as Israel makes Gaza aid response virtually impossible.”

It’s crucial to respect the work of the ICC, as well as the International Court of Justice, because ideology and self-interest can prevent nations from prioritizing human rights for all.

As I think of Hamas’ horrific crimes on October 7 and the immense suffering of the residents of Gaza, I am reminded of the words of Paulo Freire from his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed:
“I hope at least that the following will endure: my trust in the people, and my faith in men and women, and in the creation of a world in which it will be easier to love.”

International law is essential for achieving this goal.

Terry Hansen