The United States of America will not let in any of the members of the International Criminal Court from now on. The country has decided to bar the investigators of this court by revoking their current US visas and rejecting any future visa application by them.
The measure comes after the ICC previously announced that they would investigate the alleged war crimes committed by the US forces in Afghanistan. A chief prosecutor of the Hague-based court had first sought approval in November 2017 to investigate these alleged crimes, including possible torture by US forces and the CIA.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the decision last week. According to him, the move is necessary to prevent the international body from infringing the sovereignty.
“I’m announcing a policy of US visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of US personnel,” Pompeo said, “We are determined to protect the American and allied military and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation.”
He added that the restrictions might be used to discourage ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis for whom Palestinians have required investigation, without the allies’ consent.
The US has never been a member of the ICC, though the Clinton administration signed the Rome statute that created the court in 2000. US officials have criticized ICC’s request to investigate the alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, claiming that the US courts are capable of handling these cases.
“The ICC is attacking America’s rule of law,” Pompeo said throughout the announcement.
He also explained that the bar would apply to any of the Netherland-based court personnel who take or have previously taken action to investigate the war of US forces and their allies in Afghanistan.
“If you’re responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of US personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan you should not assume that you still have, or will get, a visa or that you will be permitted to enter the United States,” Pompeo added.
Supporters of the court criticized Pompeo, including Human Rights Watch which called the move “an attempt to penalize investigators”.