The clash between the United States and the International Criminal Court

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In a decision announced by Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the United States expressed the prohibitions to the personnel of the International Criminal Court

The clash between the United States and the International Criminal Court

In a statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the prohibitions to the staff of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Pompeo's statements were made in the context of the alleged investigations of the ICC into "the situation in Afghanistan."

In response to the above, the Secretary of State explained that "in November 2017, the ICC prosecutor requested approval to begin an investigation of the situation in Afghanistan. That could illegitimately attack US personnel for prosecutions and sentences. In September 2018, the Trump government warned the ICC that if it tried to investigate the Americans, this would have consequences. I understand that the prosecutor's request for an investigation is still pending. "

Leer en español: El choque entre Estados Unidos y la Corte Penal Internacional

In this way, there will be "visa restrictions for those people directly responsible for any staff investigation. This includes people who take or have taken steps to request or promote such research. "

Pompeo stressed that the decisions taken are under the legal authority to issue visa restrictions to any foreigner, "these visa restrictions can also be used to discourage the efforts of the ICC to prosecute allied personnel, including Israelis, without the consent of the allies. The implementation of this policy has already begun".

In addition, National Security Adviser John Bolton announced that economic and judicial reprisals will be directed not only to the ICC but also to companies or countries that collaborate with US investigations.

On the other hand, The organization Human Rights Watch expressed its dissatisfaction with the decision and in a statement, they referred to the matter affirming that "the judges of the ICC will determine if it is appropriate to initiate an investigation on Afghanistan. The ICC Prosecutor will decide if it is appropriate to proceed with an investigation into Palestine. "

Similarly, Human Rights Watch's director of International Justice, Richard Dicker, affirmed that this decision to deny visas and, consequently, the prohibition to enter the country, "is an outrageous attempt to intimidate the court and discourage the scrutiny of the US conduct (...), the member countries of the ICC should publicly express that they will not be intimidated in their support for the ICC and that they are not willing to tolerate the US obstruction".

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Afghanistan as a research focus

In November 2017, Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), "asked the magistrates of the court to authorize an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan since May 1, 2003", According to Human Rights Watch.

While the judges still do not rule on the investigation, it could examine crimes committed by both the Taliban and the Afghan government forces. In addition, it would deal with the inclusion of investigations of members of foreign forces, such as those belonging to the United States Intelligence Agency (CIA for its acronym in English).

It is important to remember that although the United States is not part of the court, by not adopting the Rome Statute, for what is outside its jurisdiction, Afghanistan is and therefore the Court can intercede. According to the UN, "the court can exercise its jurisdiction over all the alleged crimes committed in Afghan territory since May 2003, regardless of the defendant's nationality".

The functions of the Court

Since its creation in the late 1990s, the ICC has been charged with "investigating and bringing to justice those who commit the most serious violations against international humanitarian law, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide", according to the official page.

This is how the Court has carried out different judicial processes and as a result, the first convictions have been given. For example, Thomas Lubanga, the founder and former leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots was the first convicted by the ICC for enlisting and using children for the armed conflict. Other prosecuted are the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (war crimes and crimes against humanity); Jean-Pierre Bemba, the former vice president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (sexual and gender crimes), among others.


LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

Translated from "El choque entre Estados Unidos y la Corte Penal Internacional"