US To Deny Visas To War Crimes Court Members Probing US Troops

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 15, 2019

The new visa restrictions will not terminate Washington's previous measures, and new economic sanctions may follow if the International Criminal Court (ICC) fails to change its course, Pompeo said during the briefing.

The US is determined not to issue visas to individuals who are behind any the International Criminal Court investigation of US personnel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.

The U.S. secretary of state said, "if you are requesting an ICC investigation of U.S. personnel in connection with a situation in Afghanistan, you can not assume you will get a visa to enter the U.S".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department, Friday in Washington.

"I'm announcing a policy of U.S. visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of USA personnel", the secretary of state said.

The ICC said in a statement it was established by a treaty supported by 123 countries and that it prosecutes cases only when those countries failed to do so or did not do so "genuinely".

"The ICC is attacking America's rule of law", Pompeo told reporters.

The Hague-based court, the first global tribunal for war crimes, said it would continue to operate "undeterred" by the US action.

This past September, Bolton said the ICC was a direct threat to US national security interests and he threatened its personnel with both visa revocations and financial sanctions should it try to move against Americans.

John Bolton harshly condemned the ICC in one of his first speeches after becoming Trump's national security advisor in September.

Richard Dicker, worldwide justice director at Human Rights Watch, said the USA move "is a naked attempt to bully judges and impede justice for victims in Afghanistan" and "blatant contempt for the rule of law".

But ICC membership was never ratified by the US Senate and the "America First" administration of President Donald Trump has been a particularly virulent opponent.

"These visa restrictions will not be the end of our efforts", Pompeo said.

Al-Bashir remains at large, as does Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, who was among the first rebels charged by the court in 2005.

The court has been hobbled by refusal of the U.S., Russia, China and other major nations to join.

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