Pompeo: US to Impose Visa Restrictions Over ICC Actions

16 Mars, 2019, 00:09 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • US weighs visa ban against ICC officials probing American soldiers’ actions in Afghanistan

"I'm announcing a policy of USA visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of United States personnel", Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.

The United States announced on Friday it would deny visas to members of the International Criminal Court involved in investigating alleged was crmes from U.S. troops in Afghanistan or in other countries.

The Trump administration in September said that if the court launched a probe of war crimes in Afghanistan, it would consider banning ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, sanctioning funds they have there and prosecuting them in US courts.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department, Friday, March 15, 2019 in Washington.

"I'm announcing a policy of U.S. visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of USA personnel", the secretary of state said.

The restrictions "may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis", Pompeo added.

Pompeo said "implementation" of the policy has already begun but he did not provide any details, citing confidentiality surrounding visa applications.

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 U.S. military. The Clinton administration in 2000 signed the Rome Statute that created the ICC but had reservations about the scope of the court's jurisdiction and never submitted it for ratification to the Senate, where there was broad bipartisan opposition to what lawmakers saw as a threat to United States sovereignty.

"But that's not how law works, " he said on Twitter.

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The prosecution's request says there is information that members of the US military and intelligence agencies "committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period".

Judges are reviewing all material submitted by the prosecutor, and must decide whether or not to authorise an investigation.

Human Rights Watch called it "a thuggish attempt to penalize investigators" at the ICC.

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

James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, said Pompeo's remarks reflected the administration's view that global law matters "only when it is aligned with USA national interests".

The court has been hobbled by refusal of the US, Russia, China and other major nations to join.

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

But ICC membership was never ratified by the US Senate and the "America First" administration of President Donald Trump has been a particularly virulent opponent.

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