The United States has imposed sanctions on senior officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC), including Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
Secretary of State Mike Pompey has accused the court of “illegal attempts to bring Americans under his jurisdiction.”
The Hague-based ICC is currently investigating whether US forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
It has been criticized by the U.S. since the court was founded and is one of a dozen states that have not signed up.
Balkis Zarra, a senior lawyer for the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch, condemned the sanctions as “a new low that shames America’s commitment to justice for the worst offenders.”
She tweeted that Mr Pompeo’s action was “an excellent distortion of US sanctions, designed to punish rights abusers and cryptocurrencies, and to target war criminals.”
The ICC, created by a 2002 UN treaty, investigates and prosecutes those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and intervenes when national authorities fail to prosecute or prosecute.
- What is the International Criminal Court?
The agreement has been ratified by 123 countries, including the UK. However, the United States – along with China, India and Russia – refused to join Some African countries have accused the body of unfairly focusing on Africans.
What are sanctions?
President Donald Trump issued executive orders in June, Which allows the U.S. to block the assets of ICC employees and prevent them from entering the country.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Pompeo said the order was to sanction the head of the Division of Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation MS Benzouda and Fakiso Mochochoko.
He described the ICC as “completely broken and corrupt” and said that “those who continue to physically support those individuals are at risk of being subjected to sanctions.”
The U.S. State Department has restricted the issuance of visas to ICC personnel involved in “attempts to investigate U.S. personnel.”
When President Trump issued his executive orders in June, the ICC condemned it as “further threats and coercion”.
“The attack on the ICC also represents an attack against the interests of those who have committed heinous crimes, many of whom the court represents as a last hope for justice” Its statement was read.
Who is Fatou Bensouda?
As a former Minister of Justice in his native Gambia, Ms. Bensouda was ideal for appointing Luis Moreno-Ocampo as ICC Chief Prosecutor because she was his deputy during his tenure.
She was previously a senior legal adviser to a UN-backed tribunal that prosecuted ringleaders accused in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
While she has expanded her ICC research to look at differences elsewhere, it has now angered America, with Africa as her main focus. All ICC trials so far have focused only on Africans – and Thomas Lubanga, a militia leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo, became the first person to be convicted of ICC war crimes in 2012.
Ms Benzouda also faced defeats such as the acquittal of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo on war crimes charges in 2019 and the dismissal of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on humanitarian charges in 2014.
What is the ICC investigating?
Earlier this year, the ICC launched an investigation into war crimes committed by the US and others in the Afghan conflict.
According to The legal process of the ICC, The court may issue arrest warrants or summons after prosecutors gather relevant evidence and identify the suspects. From there, they determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial in a case.
At the time, Mr Pompeo vowed to protect Americans from investigation, saying it was “a truly thrilling act to disguise the innumerable, political entity as a legitimate entity.”
A 2016 report from the ICC states that there is reasonable evidence to believe that the U.S. military perpetrated violence In secret detention centers maintained by the CIA.
- Afghanistan: Long road to peace
- The Afghan War: A Short and Long Story
The court has been examining the actions of the Taliban, the Afghan government and US forces since May 2003.
Authorities opposed the protest with all available police forces, special services and the army. “