In an unprecedented move, the AP reports that the United Staes plans on barring entry of International Criminal Court (ICC) personnel who attempt to investigate or prosecute alleged abuses at the hands of U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere and, more worrisome, may do the same with those who try to take action against Israel, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Following up on a threat made last September by hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton, Pompeo said Friday that the US has already begun moving against a handful of employees at the ICC.
“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,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo wants to circumscribe the unbiased ICC and have any wrongdoing committed by American personnel dealt with in U.S. military and criminal courts.
The visa restrictions would apply to any court employee who takes or has taken action “to request or further such an investigation,” Pompeo said.
“These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, without allies’ consent,” he said.
This appears to come amid a request from an ICC prosecutor to look into potential war crimes committed by Americans in Afghanistan. Let it be known that the United States has never been a member of the ICC and the Bush Administration passed the American Service Members Protection Act, which sought to immunize U.S. troops from potential prosecution by the ICC.
Nevertheless, Human Rights Watch was not happy by the Trump Admsinstatrion’s latest move, calling it “thuggish.”
“The Trump administration is trying an end run around accountability,” it said. “Taking action against those who work for the ICC sends a clear message to torturers and murderers alike: Their crimes may continue unchecked.”