Washington, 11 June 2020 (dpa/MIA) – US President Donald Trump on Thursday imposed economic sanctions against International Criminal Court (ICC) employees involved in investigating US troops for potential war crimes in Afghanistan.
The executive order also expands visa restrictions against court officials and their families.
It comes after The Hague-based ICC in March gave the green light to an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2014, including those allegedly committed by US forces and the CIA.
Washington, which opposes the UN-backed institution, threatened to take countermeasures if the inquiry went ahead.
The court’s “actions are an attack on the rights of the American people and threaten to infringe upon our national sovereignty,” according to a statement by the White House press secretary.
“We are concerned that adversary nations are manipulating the International Criminal Court by encouraging these allegations against United States personnel,” the statement added.
The ICC was established in 2002 by the international community, without the membership of the US, to prosecute war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
Human Rights Watch said Trump’s action “demonstrates contempt for the global rule of law.”
“This assault on the ICC is an effort to block victims of serious crimes whether in Afghanistan, Israel or Palestine from seeing justice,” the organization’s Washington director Andrea Prasow said in a statement.
The move marks Trump’s latest attack on international organizations and accords, having withdrawn the US from the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate pact, among others.