U.S. Revokes Visa Of The International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor

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The International Criminal Court is investigating the United States for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

According to the Guardian, on March 15, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a new policy wherein visa restrictions would be imposed on any “individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of US personnel”, as the ICC was “attacking America’s rule of law”. The United States has refused to recognize the International Criminal Court since it was created in 2002.

Consequent to this new policy, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, had her visa revoked, as she had requested an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan in November 2017. The investigation included the Taliban, Afghan government forces, and international forces including US troops, within its scope. The court has not reached a decision on whether to launch a full-scale investigation dating back to 2002.

This is not the first time the ICC and the Trump administration have been at odds. In September of last year, the US national security advisor John Bolton threatened sanctions against the court and potential prosecution of its officials if it launched an investigation of the US or its allies for alleged crimes committed while in Afghanistan.

ICC chief prosecutor Bensouda stated, in reaction to the visa repeal, that she would continue to pursue her duties to the court “without fear or favour”. Her office likewise expected no disruption to her trips to New York, where she regularly briefs the security council, as the UN is covered by a form of diplomatic immunity.

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