Trump Authorizes Sanctions Against Court Investigating US For Afghan War Crimes
President Donald Trump launched an attack against International Criminal Court(ICC) employees for investigating American troops and intelligence officials for possible war crimes in Afghanistan, according to The Washington Post.
- The president signed an executive order that authorizes sanctions and travel restrictions against ICC workers, marking the latest attack on international organizations that don’t adhere to his administration’s policies.
- Trump’s order “authorized the secretary of state, in consultation with the treasury secretary, to block financial assets within U.S. jurisdiction of court personnel who directly engage in investigating, harassing or detaining U.S. personnel.”
- It also “authorizes the secretary of state to block court officials and their family members involved in the investigations from entering the United States,”surpassing travel restrictions issued by the State Department last year.
- White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement:
“The International Criminal Court’s actions are an attack on the rights of the American people and threaten to infringe upon our national sovereignty. The ICC was established to provide accountability for war crimes, but in practice it has been an unaccountable and ineffective international bureaucracy that targets and threatens United States personnel as well as personnel of our allies and partners.”
- McEnany followed up by saying:
“We are concerned that adversary nations are manipulating the International Criminal Court by encouraging these allegations against United States personnel. Further, we have strong reason to believe there is corruption and misconduct at the highest levels of the International Criminal Court office of the prosecutor, calling into question the integrity of its investigation into American service members.”
- The executive order comes after former national security advisor John Bolton threatened ICC workers with sanctions last year if they went forward with prosecution of American or allied troops.
- ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says the court has information that members of U.S. military and intelligence agencies “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence” in Afghanistan since May 2003.
Human rights groups have criticized the president’s move.
- Andrea Prasow, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement:
“The Trump administration’s latest action paves the way for imposing sanctions against ICC officials and demonstrates contempt for the global rule of law. This assault on the ICC is an effort to block victims of serious crimes whether in Afghanistan, Israel or Palestine from seeing justice. Countries that support international justice should publicly oppose this blatant attempt at obstruction.”