The United States has imposed sanctions on senior officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC), including Attorney General Fadu Benzouda.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused the court of “illegal attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction.”
The hack-based ICC is currently investigating whether US forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
The United States has been critical of the court since its inception and is one of a dozen states that have not signed up.
Balkis Zarra, a senior adviser to the NGO Human Rights Watch, denounced the sanctions as “a shameful new breach of US obligations to provide justice to the victims of the worst crimes.”
In 2002, the UN. The ICC, created by the treaty, investigates and brings to justice those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, when national authorities cannot prosecute or intervene.
- What is the International Criminal Court?
The agreement has been ratified by 123 countries, including the United Kingdom. But the United States – along with China, India and Russia – has refused to join Some African countries have accused the body of unfairly focusing on Africans.
What are sanctions?
President Donald Trump issued the executive order in June, Which allows the United States to block the assets of ICC employees and prevent them from entering the country.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Mr Pompeo said the order would give permission to Ms. Benzouda and Fakiso Mosokoko, head of the jurisdiction, complement and co-operation division.
Rejecting the ICC as a “completely broken and corrupt institution”, he said “those who materially support those individuals run the risk of exposing sanctions.”
The U.S. State Department has also banned the issuance of visas to ICC staff involved in “attempts to interrogate U.S. employees.”
When President Trump issued his executive order in June, the ICC condemned it as “further threats and coercive measures”.
“The attack on the ICC also represents an attack on the interests of victims of atrocities, and for many of them the court reflects the last hope for justice.” Read its report.
Who is Fatu Benzouda?
As a former Minister of Justice in his home country of Gambia, Ms Benzouda wanted to appoint Luis Moreno-Ocampo as ICC Attorney General because he had been his deputy throughout his tenure.
He has previously served at the UN. He was also a senior legal adviser to the support court, which prosecuted those accused in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
When he expanded the ICC investigation to look elsewhere, it has now angered the United States, with Africa as its main focus. All ICC trials so far have focused only on Africans – and Thomas Lupanga, a militant leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo, became the first person to be convicted of war crimes by the ICC in 2012.
But Ms Benzouda has faced a number of setbacks, including the acquittal of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Kabago in 2019 and war crimes charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2014.
What is the ICC investigating?
Earlier this year, the ICC launched an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by the United States and others in the conflict in Afghanistan.
According to The legal process of the ICC, The court may issue an arrest warrant or summons once prosecutors have gathered sufficient evidence and identified the suspects. From there they will decide if there is enough evidence to go to a trial.
At the time, Mr Pompeo vowed to protect Americans from prosecution, saying it was “a truly suffocating move by an unaccountable, political entity that appears to be a legitimate organization.”
The ICC’s 2016 report said there was reasonable grounds to believe that the U.S. military tortured him On CIA-operated covert detention sites.
- Afghanistan: The Long Path to Peace
- Afghan War: Short and Long Story
The actions of the Taliban, the Afghan government and US troops since May 2003 are expected to be examined by a court.
Afghanistan is a member of the court, but officials there have also opposed the trial.