World News

United States bars entry to ICC investigators, says 'attacking America's rule of law'

United States bars entry to ICC investigators, says 'attacking America's rule of law'

The Trump administration says it will deny entry to the United States to officials from the International Criminal Court because of its investigation of potential USA war crimes in Afghanistan.

The prosecution's request said there is information that members of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies "committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period".

Pompeo's comments follow a threat by the administration of President Donald Trump last September to ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the United States and to place sanctions on funds they have in the country if the court were to launch an investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan.

"I'm announcing a policy of United States visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of USA personnel", Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.

"The Trump administration is trying an end run around accountability", it said.

Following up on a threat made last September by hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton, Pompeo said Friday that the U.S. has already begun moving against a handful of employees at the ICC.

The U.S.is not a party to the ICC, along with other major powers, including Russian Federation and China.

US weighs visa ban against ICC officials probing American soldiers’ actions in Afghanistan
State Dept. bans International Criminal Court from U.S. soil

The head of State said he hopes to convince the ICC to change course in Afghanistan from taking action inconsistent with USA views. While she didn't target the US military, Bensouda said the inquiry sought "support and cooperation" from the Afghan government, other state parties and the worldwide community as a whole "to accomplish our objectives of ensuring accountability for the crimes committed and that the long-suffering victims of those crimes receive justice".

The court, which sits in The Hague, responded that it was an independent and impartial institution and would continue to do its work "undeterred" by Washington's actions.

Similar measures will be taken against any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans, he said.

Supporters of the court slammed Pompeo's announcement on Friday.

Human Rights Watch called the announcement a "thuggish attempt to penalize investigators" at the court.

Last year, President Donald Trump told the United Nations General Assembly that the USA would never surrender its sovereignty by supporting the ICC and would always regard it as an illegitimate global institution. "Taking action against those who work for the ICC sends a clear message to torturers and murderers alike: Their crimes may continue unchecked".

"It reeks of the very totalitarian practices that are characteristic of the worst human rights abusers, and is a blatant effort to intimidate and retaliate against judges, prosecutors, and advocates seeking justice for victims of serious human rights abuses", it said.

More news: Woman held for murder of Kim's brother goes free as charges dropped


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