US Threatens Anyone Behind ICC Probe Into Its Staff With Visa Restrictions

Elias Hubbard
March 16, 2019

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

Pompeo wants to circumscribe the unbiased ICC and have any wrongdoing committed by American personnel dealt with in US military and criminal courts.

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.

The Hague-based court, the first global tribunal for war crimes, said it would continue to operate "undeterred" by the USA action.

Pompeo said the new visa restrictions would include "persons who take or have taken action to request or further such an investigation".

The visa restrictions would apply to any ICC employee who takes or has taken action "to request or further such an investigation" into allegations against US forces and their allies in Afghanistan that include forced disappearances and torture.

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

"While victims' rights should be the very top priority of the United States government, throwing roadblocks in front of the ICC's investigation undermines justice not only for abuses committed in Afghanistan, but also for the millions of victims and survivors throughout the world who have experienced the most serious crimes under global law".

The United States has never been a member of the ICC.

The secretary of state said visas could also be withheld from ICC personnel involved in conducting probes of USA allies, specifically Israel.

The secretary of state said the USA had declined to join the ICC "because of its broad unaccountable prosecutorial powers" and the threat it proposes to American national sovereignty.

Washington took the first step on Friday with Pompeo's announcement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently announced new restrictions regarding probes from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"The court is an independent and impartial judicial institution crucial for ensuring accountability for the gravest crimes under worldwide law", the statement said.

The ICC was established in 2002 under the Rome Statute and joined by 123 countries.

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

"These visa restrictions will not be the end of our efforts", he said.

"Taking action against those who work for the ICC sends a clear message to torturers and murderers alike: Their crimes may continue unchecked".

"Under these measures, we will not interfere with travel to the United Nations for official United Nations purposes", the official said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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