Dutton Calls on PM to Join Biden in Condemning ICC’s Netanyahu Arrest Warrant

    by Sidney Hunt
    Published: May 21, 2024 (1 month ago)

    Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has urged Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to publicly denounce the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) recent issuance of an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The call aligns Australia with U.S. President Joe Biden’s sharp criticism of the ICC’s actions, which he labeled as “unwarranted and politically motivated.”

    Dutton’s statement comes in the wake of the ICC’s announcement last week that it had issued an arrest warrant for Netanyahu over alleged war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories. The warrant has sparked a geopolitical controversy, drawing varying reactions from world leaders and international organizations.

    In a press conference at Parliament House, Dutton stressed the importance of Australia standing with its allies and maintaining a unified front against what he described as “overreach by the ICC.”

    “Prime Minister Netanyahu is a democratically elected leader of a key ally in the Middle East,” Dutton stated. “The ICC’s decision undermines the sovereignty of nations and the principle of democratic self-governance. I urge Prime Minister Albanese to join President Biden and other democratic leaders in condemning this action.”

    President Biden, in a statement from the White House, criticized the ICC for what he called a “biased and counterproductive move,” arguing that it could further destabilize the already volatile Middle East region. Biden emphasized the strong bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Israel and reiterated his administration’s commitment to supporting Israel’s right to self-defense.

    Dutton echoed these sentiments, highlighting the longstanding partnership between Australia and Israel. He pointed out that Australia has historically supported Israel in international forums and has backed the nation in its security concerns.

    “The ICC’s warrant not only threatens Israel but also sets a dangerous precedent that could be used against leaders of other democratic nations,” Dutton argued. “It’s crucial that Australia stands up for international law and the principles of justice and fairness.”

    The Albanese government has yet to issue an official response to the ICC’s warrant or Dutton’s remarks. However, sources within the Prime Minister’s office suggest that discussions are ongoing regarding Australia’s position. Foreign Minister Penny Wong is expected to address the issue in the coming days.

    The ICC, on its part, has defended its decision, asserting that it is based on thorough investigations and is aimed at ensuring accountability for actions that have severely impacted civilians in the Palestinian territories. The Court’s spokesperson emphasized that the warrant is not politically motivated but rooted in the pursuit of justice for alleged victims of war crimes.

    The international community remains divided over the ICC’s role and jurisdiction. While some European nations have expressed cautious support for the ICC’s mandate, others have called for reforms to prevent perceived biases and ensure a more balanced approach to international justice.

    As the debate intensifies, the pressure mounts on Prime Minister Albanese to take a definitive stance. Dutton’s call places the issue squarely in the realm of domestic political discourse, underscoring the broader implications of international legal actions on national policies and alliances.

    With the ICC’s actions stirring significant diplomatic ripples, the global spotlight is now on Australia’s response, which could have far-reaching consequences for its foreign relations and its position on the world stage.