US To Impose Visa Restrictions On ICC Personnel

16 March, 2019, 14:33 | Author: Wade Massey
  • US bars entry to ICC members probing'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".

The secretary of state also warned that "these visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursed allied personnel including Israelis without allies' consent".

Pompeo said the policy was already being implemented but would not elaborate, citing visa privacy laws. He threatened additional steps, including economic sanctions, against the ICC if the court does not change its course.

In doing so, he made good on an earlier threat by the Trump administration to ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the United States and sanction funds they have there if the court launched a probe of war crimes in Afghanistan.

John Bolton harshly condemned the ICC in one of his first speeches after becoming Trump's national security advisor in September.

Pompeo's announcement of visa restrictions was the first concrete action taken by the U.S. against the ICC since the White House threatened reprisals against the Hague-based body in September of past year.

"The ICC is attacking America's rule of law", Pompeo told reporters.

In November 2017, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that she would ask judges for permission to open an investigation into alleged war crimes committed in the Afghan conflict, including by the United States military. The Palestinians have asked the ICC to investigate Israel for alleged human rights abuses.

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"The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court", Bolton said.

James Goldston, the executive director of Open Society Justice Initiative, said the new sanctions would undermine efforts to hold to account those responsible for the worst war crimes.

"We will not cooperate with the ICC", Bolton said.

A State Department official said the United States would allow court officials to travel for meetings to the United Nations headquarters in NY.

"This is an unprecedented attempt to skirt worldwide accountability for well-documented war crimes that haunt our clients to this day", Dakwar said.

The ICC said in a statement it was established by a treaty supported by 123 countries and that it prosecutes cases only when those countries failed to do so or did not do so "genuinely". "Taking action against those who work for the ICC sends a clear message to torturers and murderers alike: Their crimes may continue unchecked".

Since its creation, the court has filed charges against dozens of suspects including former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was killed by rebels before he could be arrested, and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is accused of charges including genocide in Darfur. He encouraged ICC member countries to "publicly make clear that they will remain undaunted in their support for the ICC and will not tolerate US obstruction". Others have quit, including Burundi and the Philippines.

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