By Agency Report
The Trump administration has made good on its promise to deny U.S. entry to members of the International Criminal Court over its efforts to investigate war crimes in Afghanistan.
The United States denied a visa for ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. She’s the first to be affected by the sanction, which was announced last month.
“We can confirm that the U.S. authorities have revoked the prosecutor’s visa for entry,” the court said in a statement. “It is our understanding that should not have an impact on the prosecutor’s travel to the U.S. to meet her obligations to the U.N., including regular briefings before the U.N. Security Council.”
The State Department decided to revoke visas for members of the court because of their investigation of U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan war crimes inquiries.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the ban affects those “directly responsible for any ICC investigation of U.S. personnel.”
The foreign ministers of 22 nations have opposed the restrictions.
“We express our serious concern about the travel restrictions and threat of additional measures announced by the United States against officials of the International Criminal Court,” they said in a joint statement.
The United States, Russia and China are not members of the ICC and don’t recognize its authority.
Pompeo tweeted last month that the court’s investigations are “politically motivated.”
“The U.S. has not joined the ICC because of its broad, unaccountable powers, and its threat to our sovereignty,” his March 15 tweet said. “We will protect our citizens.”
The Palestinian Authority has also asked the court to investigate alleged Israeli crimes in the West Bank and Gaza.
ICC members can travel to New York City for official business at United Nations headquarters.
ICC President Eboe-Osuji said the United States has historically led efforts to hold war criminals accountable and called on Washington to join the court.
“[T]here is no escaping the fact that America has, more than most, done much in our world’s recent history to further the cause of international criminal justice in a joint effort with other nations,” he said. “The past, the present and the future victims of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes need her to do so.” (UPI)