Trump targets ICC with sanctions after court opens war crimes investigation | US foreign policy

The Trump administration launches an economic and legal offensive against the International Criminal Court in response to the Court's decision initiate investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan all parties, including the United States.

The United States will not only punish ICC officials involved in the investigation of the alleged war crimes of the United States and its allies, it will also impose visa restrictions on the families of these officials. In addition, the administration said Thursday that it is initiating a counter-investigation on the ICC, for alleged corruption.


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General William Barr briefed the Department of State on the decision, but left without asking questions.

Barr clarified that this was the start of a sustained campaign against the ICC and that the measures taken on Thursday were only "an important first step to hold the ICC accountable for overstepping its mandate and violation of United States sovereignty. "

"The United States government has reason to doubt the honesty of the ICC. The Ministry of Justice has received substantial credible information which raises serious concerns about a long history of financial corruption and embezzlement at the highest levels of the prosecutor's office, "said Barr.


He called the ICC "little more than a political tool used by international elites who are not accountable".

ICC judges have green light in march an investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan, and began an investigation into crimes by Israeli and Palestinian forces in December. In his remarks, Pompeo clarified that the American sanctions were also aimed at defending Israel.

"Given Israel's strong civil and military legal system and its track record of investigating prosecutions for wrongdoings committed by military personnel, it is clear that the ICC is targeting Israel only For strictly political purposes, "said Pompeo.

Human rights activists say the Israel Defense Forces have operated with virtual impunity in the West Bank and Gaza.

Secretary of State urged other ICC members to join campaign against court

"We cannot, we will not, that our people are threatened by a kangaroo court," said Pompeo, warning his American allies: "Your people could be next, especially those from the countries of the world. NATO who fought terrorism in Afghanistan right next to us. "

David Bosco, who has written a book on the ICC, Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics, said: "I think it relates as much to the impending situation in Palestine as it does to the investigation of the investigation. 39; Afghanistan. The decree clearly authorizes sanctions against ICC staff who investigate American allies who have not consented to the jurisdiction of the court. "

Bosco, an associate professor at the University of Indiana, added: "The actual effect on the court investigation in Afghanistan is unlikely to be significant. This investigation already faces many logistical and evidentiary obstacles and will take years. "

the American Civil Liberties Union condemned the decision, saying that Trump "was playing directly at the hands of authoritarian regimes by intimidating judges and prosecutors determined to hold countries accountable for war crimes."

"Trump's sanctions order against ICC staff and their families – some of whom may be US citizens – is a dangerous demonstration of his disregard for human rights and those working for enforce them. We are exploring all options in response, "said the ACLU.

The ICC was established in 2002, with the aim of expanding the effort to enforce international humanitarian law for war crimes and crimes against humanity undertaken by the courts of the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Over 120 countries, including Washington's closest allies in Europe, are party to the Rome Statute, the founding document of the ICC. Bill Clinton signed for the United States in 2000, but said the statute would not be sent to the Senate for ratification until the United States assessed the operations of the court.

George W Bush informed the UN in 2002 that the United States would not join the court.

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