U.S. imposes visa bans on International Criminal Court investigators - Pompeo

US weighs visa ban against ICC officials probing American soldiers’ actions in Afghanistan

"I'm announcing a policy of U.S. visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of United States personnel", Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.

Claiming that the implementation of the policy had already begun, Pompeo did not reveal the identities of people at the Hague-based court who have or will be affected.

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.

In doing so, he made good on an earlier threat by the Trump administration to ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the United States and sanction funds they have there if the court launched a probe of war crimes in Afghanistan.

"Secretary Pompeo's remarks reflect this Administration's view that worldwide law matters only when it is aligned with US national interests".

"The ICC is attacking America's rule of law", Pompeo told a news conference on Friday.

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Bolton questioned the legitimacy of The Hague-based court, its mission and mandate, warned that the U.S. would thwart any attempt by its prosecutors to open investigations into Americans for alleged war crimes and other abuses in conflicts in Afghanistan or elsewhere. The Palestinians have asked the ICC to investigate Israel for alleged human rights abuses.

With 123 member states, including the entire European Union, the ICC was established in 2002 to prosecute war crimes, genocide or crimes against humanity when a country is unable or unwilling to prosecute perpetrators.

"We will not cooperate with the ICC", Bolton said. In 2002, Bolton, then a State Department official, traveled to NY to ceremonially "unsign" the Rome Statute at the United Nations.

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

"We are determined to protect American and allied civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation", he said. While she didn't target the US military, Bensouda said the inquiry sought "support and cooperation" from the Afghan government, other state parties and the worldwide community as a whole "to accomplish our objectives of ensuring accountability for the crimes committed and that the long-suffering victims of those crimes receive justice". "Taking action against those who work for the ICC sends a clear message to torturers and murderers alike: Their crimes may continue unchecked". The court has convicted just eight defendants. The United States has rejected the ICC since the body was first proposed during the Clinton administration, claiming it would be used by U.S. enemies for politically motivated attacks against Americans serving overseas, especially USA service members. Others have quit, including Burundi and the Philippines.

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