The U.S. has imposed sanctions on senior officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC), including Chief Prosecutor Fattou Bensuda.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused the court of making an illegal attempt to subject Americans to its jurisdiction.
The Hague-based ICC is currently investigating whether US troops committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
The U.S. has been one of a dozen states that have been criticized and not signed up since the court was established.
Balkis Jarra, a senior lawyer with the human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch, condemned the embargo as “a shameful new setback to the US commitment to bring the worst crimes to justice.”
Pompeo’s move comes as a surprise to US sanctions, which he said were designed to impose fines on rights abusers and cryptocurrencies and target those prosecuting war crimes.
The ICC brings to justice those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes under the UN Convention of 2002, and intervenes when national authorities are unable or unwilling to prosecute.
- What is the International Criminal Court?
123 countries, including the UK, have ratified the treaty. US – China, India and Russia refused to join Some African countries allege that the body unjustly focused on Africans.
What is sanctions?
President Donald Trump issued an executive order in June, Which allows the U.S. to block the assets of ICC employees and prevent them from entering the country.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, Pompeo said the order was issued by the head of the Jurisdiction, Complementary and Co-operation Division, M.S. That Benzuda and Fakiso Mochokoko should be allowed.
Rejecting the ICC as “a corrupt and corrupt institution”, he said that “material support of individuals would be subject to sanctions”.
The U.S. State Department regulates the issuance of visas to ICC staff involved in “attempts to search for U.S. officials.”
When President Trump issued his executive order in June, the ICC condemned it as “further threats and coercive action.”
“Attacks on the ICC also represent an attack on the interests of victims of violent crimes, many of whom represent the ultimate hope of justice.” Read its statement.
Who is Fatou Bensuda?
As former Minister of Justice in the Gambia, Benzuda has been chosen to take over as ICC Chief Prosecutor after Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
She was a senior legal adviser to the UN-backed tribunal that prosecuted leaders accused in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
She has now expanded her ICC probe to see conflicts elsewhere and has now gained the wrath of the US, with Africa as her main focus. All ICC trials so far have focused on Africans only – Thomas Lubanga, a militia leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo, became the first person to be convicted of ICC war crimes in 2012.
Miss Bensouda suffered a number of defeats, including the acquittal of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gabbago in a war crimes case in 2019 and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s abandonment of humanitarian crimes in 2014.
What is the ICC looking for?
Earlier this year, the ICC launched an investigation into war crimes committed by the US and others in the Afghan war.
Accordingly The legal process of the ICCIf the prosecutors gather sufficient evidence and identify the suspects, the court can issue an arrest warrant or summons. From there they will decide if there is enough evidence to go to trial in a case.
At the time, Pompeo vowed to protect Americans from prosecution, saying:
A 2016 ICC report says there is good reason to believe that US troops were victims of torture. In secret detention by the CIA.
- Afghanistan: The Long Road to Peace
- The Afghan War: A Short and Long Story
The court is expected to examine the actions of the Taliban, the Afghan government and US troops since May 2003.
Although a member of the Afghan court, officials there also opposed the investigation.