Nitsana Darshan-Leitner
Nitsana Darshan-LeitnerArutz Sheva

A group of close to 200 lawyers from Israel, the US and around the world last week issued a letter to US President Joe Biden, urging him to use the authority of the Presidency and the US Government to “to stop the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC from bringing indictments against Israeli leaders and senior IDF officers.”

The letter, authored by Adv. Nitsana Darshan Leitner, President of the Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center, and signed by nearly 200 lawyers specifically called for the invocation the American Service-Members' Protection Act (ASPA) which establishes that American allies should be defended against international prosecution - the likes of which, as has been widely reported, the ICC plans to enact against senior Israeli political and military officials.

The ASPA, often referred to as “The Hague Invasion Act” is a federal law passed in 2002, authorizing the US President to “use all means necessary and appropriate” to bring about the release of US servicemen who are being held by the International Criminal Court. The Act also establishes that those protections should be defended for officials of allies of the US - in this case, as established in the letter, Israeli senior officials.

Adv. Leitner said, “In accordance with the strong alliance between the United States and Israel, we urge President Biden to employ his authority and moral determination in demanding that the ICC drop any intent to pursue legal action against Israeli and IDF officials. Indictments filed in The Hague against Israelis are not just a threat to the Jewish State but a threat to all Western democratic states facing terrorist attacks.”

“Today they are trying to hobble Israel, using blood libels and claims of war crimes, tomorrow they’ll be targeting American soldiers too. The US Administration under President Biden has promised to give Israel the tools necessary to ensure its national defense and ensure a complete and necessary victory, and a clear and unwavering statement to the ICC must be a part of that commitment.”

The letter states that ICC action against Israeli officials would be both “completely unfounded and unjustified,” and would have massive legal and practical implications for Israel and Jewish communities around the world.

“Arrest warrants by the ICC would will render Israel under an existential threat due to the de facto denial of its the right of self-defense; they will jeopardize the lives of Israeli and American citizens still held hostage by Hamas, and also pose a strategic risk to American interests due to a distorted and political application of the Laws of War by the ICC, which will soon put also American officials and servicemen under considerable risk,” the letter concludes.