U.S. revokes ICC prosecutor's visa over Afghan probe

06 Avril, 2019, 18:25 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • U.S. revokes ICC prosecutor's visa over Afghan probe

The United States has revoked the entry visa of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, who is investigating possible war crimes committed by USA forces in Afghanistan.

The ICC prosecutor has a pending request to look into possible war crimes in Afghanistan that may involve Americans.

"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", he said.

"The prosecutor and her office will continue to undertake that statutory duty with utmost commitment and professionalism, without fear or favor", it added.

At the time, the Hague-based court, the first global tribunal for war crimes, issued a statement saying it would continue to operate "undeterred" by the United States action.

The ICC is investigating alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by various parties in the protracted conflict, including United States forces, as detailed in a 2016 report.

Pompeo slammed the potential investigation an example of "politically motivated prosecutions of Americans".

In November 2017, Bensouda asked ICC judges for authorisation to open an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan by the Taliban, Afghan government forces and global forces including U.S. troops, the AFP reports.

The State Department chose to revoke visas for members of the court due to their investigation of US military personnel in Afghanistan war crimes inquiries.

U.S. revokes ICC prosecutor's visa over Afghan probe

"The ICC is attacking America's rule of law", Pompeo told reporters in March.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, centre, and national security adviser John Bolton, right, seen with Donald Trump earlier this year, have both criticized the ICC and threatened its judges with sanctions.

The Palestinian Authority has also asked the court to investigate alleged Israeli crimes in the West Bank and Gaza.

The United States has never been a member of the Hague-based court, even though the Clinton administration in 2000 signed the Rome Statute that created it. Established in 2002, it acts only when countries within its jurisdiction are found to be unable or unwilling to seriously investigate war crimes, genocide or other serious atrocities.

The ICC was established by a United Nations treaty in 2002, and has been ratified by 123 countries, including the UK.

The African Union (AU) lobbied intensely for Ms Bensouda to become ICC chief prosecutor in 2012 after accusing her predecessor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, of targeting Africans for investigation, an allegation he denied.

According to the statement, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's office emphasised that she "has an independent and impartial mandate" under the court's founding treaty, the Rome Statute.

"It is our understanding that should not have an impact on the Prosecutor's travel to the USA to meet her obligations to the UN, including regular briefings before the UN Security Council", her office said in a statement.

"[We] will continue to honour our legal duty undeterred", Bensouda said on Tuesday.

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