U.S. will block visas of ICC personnel investigating alleged abuses of American forces
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday the United States will restrict visas for any International Criminal Court personnel attempting to investigate alleged abuses by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Mr. Pompeo said the U.S. has already filed motions to block several employees of the ICC, but he declined to say how many or what they were investigating, according to The Associated Press.
“We are determined to protect the American and allied military and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation,” Mr. Pompeo said, adding visa restrictions would apply to an ICC employee who has taken steps “to request or further such an investigation.”
The ICC currently has one pending request to investigate war crimes possibly involving Americans in Afghanistan.
Palestinians have also asked for cases to be brought against Israel, which Mr. Pompeo said they would block as well.
“These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, without allied consent,” he said.
The International Criminal Court was created in 2002 to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. More than 120 countries are members, but major powers such as the U.S., Russia and China never signed onto the court. President George W. Bush rescinded the Clinton administration’s move to join the tribunal.
President Trump’s National Security Adviser John R. Bolton said in September that the ICC was not welcome in the United States.
“We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us,” Mr. Bolton said.
Dan Boylan contributed to this story.