USA to impose visa bans on International Criminal Court personnel

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo answers questions and said sanctions will be imposed by the United States on any individuals involved in International Criminal Court proceedings against American army personnel at the U.S. State Department on March 15

On Friday at the State Department, Pompeo said he would revoke visas for anyone responsible for for an ICC investigation of USA personnel.

Washington took the first step on Friday with Pompeo's announcement.

When president George W. Bush took office in 2001, his administration promoted and passed the American Service Members Protection Act, which sought to immunize U.S. troops from potential prosecution by the ICC. "It's not too late for the court to change course and we urge that it do so immediately".

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 USA troops from potential prosecution by the ICC.

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

"I'm announcing a policy of US visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of USA personnel", Pompeo told a news conference in Washington.

This would include anyone who takes, or has taken, action to request or further an investigation, he told reporters. 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.

Similar measures will be taken against any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans, he said.

Pompeo said that the visa restrictions would not be the end of Washington's efforts.

The secretary of state said the USA had declined to join the ICC "because of its broad unaccountable prosecutorial powers" and the threat it proposes to American national sovereignty.

The ICC said in a statement it was established by a treaty supported by 123 countries and that it prosecutes cases only when those countries failed to do so or did not do so "genuinely".

"We feared that the court could eventually pursue politically motivated prosecutions of Americans", he said, "and our fears were warranted". He said the policy had already taken effect, but declined to say who had been restricted or would face future restrictions.

"When US service members fail to adhere to our strict code of military conduct they are reprimanded, courtmartialed and sentenced, if that's what's deserved", he said.

The ICC prosecutor has a pending request to look into possible war crimes in Afghanistan that may involve Americans.

Pompeo described the ICC as an organisation that has "broad, unaccountable" powers.

The court, which sits in The Hague, responded that it was an independent and impartial institution and would continue to do its work "undeterred" by Washington's actions.

James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, said Pompeo's remarks reflected the administration's view that worldwide law matters "only when it is aligned with U.S. national interests". 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". We will provide no assistance to the ICC. The Clinton administration in 2000 signed the Rome Statute that created the ICC but had reservations about the scope of the court's jurisdiction and never submitted it for ratification to the Senate, where there was broad bipartisan opposition to what lawmakers saw as a threat to United States sovereignty. "And we certainly will not join the ICC". Impeding the work of ICC investigators disrupts its vital function and demands impunity for the White House's own policies.

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