US President Donald Trump has authorized the imposition of economic and travel sanctions on officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigating war crimes against US troops, intelligence officials and allied countries, including Israel.
Al Jazeera reports that under the new executive order, anyone who attempts to interrogate, arrest, detain or prosecute US officials without US consent can be banned.
Under a new executive order issued by the US president, ICC officials would also need Washington’s permission in the event of an investigation against US allies, otherwise they too would face sanctions.
The move by the United States comes after the ICC authorized an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.
“The ICC’s actions are an attack on the rights of the American people and a threat to our national sovereignty,” White House Press Secretary Kelly McKinney said in a statement.
“The president’s executive order makes it clear that the United States is serious about protecting its citizens and our allies from unfair ICC legal action,” he said.
It should be noted that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said that “we cannot stand with the kangaroo court (illegal court), it is a threat to our people.”
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Mike Pompeo had said that economic sanctions on ICC officials would be determined on a case-by-case basis.
He added that the families of the officials would also be subject to visa restrictions.
“We are not happy to punish them, but we cannot allow ICC officials and their families to come to the United States to enjoy shopping, travel and freedom,” he said.
“Because these are the same officials who are trying to prosecute many of these freedom defenders,” he added.
US Attorney General William Barr said the United States would investigate possible corruption within the ICC’s organizational framework, which he said could be interfered with by Russia and other opponents.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the ICC of making “external allegations” against his country and praised the US move.
“The United States has demanded truth and justice,” he said.
Senior UN and EU officials have criticized the US decision against ICC officials.
EU foreign policy chief Giuseppe Borrell said US President Donald Trump’s decision was a matter of “grave concern”.
“This is a key element in bringing justice and peace and the ICC must be respected and supported by all countries,” he said.
Stephen Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the United Nations was “concerned” about Donald Trump’s decision