This past September, in a move intended to frighten the International Criminal Court out of investigating allegations of war crimes against the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan, Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton, a longtime critic of the ICC, threatened to ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the country, along with the additional threat of sanctioning any funds they may have in the U.S. and even possibly prosecuting them in U.S. Federal courts.
This threat was in direct response to the November 2017 request by the ICC investigator for judges to authorize the opening of an investigation into “alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan since May 1, 2003, including in states where the CIA held prisoners.”
The material submitted by the prosecutor is currently under review by ICC judges, who have the legal authority to authorize an investigation.
Friday, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo took that threat one step further, saying:
‘I’m announcing a policy of U.S. visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of U.S. personnel. This includes persons who take or have taken action to request or further such an investigation. These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, without allies’ consent. ‘
The Trump administration is so unconcerned about the legal consequences of their criminal acts that they are not even bothering to try to hide their attempted bullying of a court of law, as Pompeo continued:
‘If you are responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of U.S. personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, you should not assume that you still have or will get a visa or will be permitted to enter the United States.’
The court said it was “undeterred” by the U.S.’ threats, according to AP News.
Andrea Prasow, a director at international watchdog group Human Rights Watch, called the threats “a thuggish attempt to penalize investigators,” adding:
‘Taking action against those who work for the ICC sends a clear message to torturers and murderers alike: Their crimes may continue unchecked’
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