Already engaged in an unprecedented offensive against the International Criminal Court (ICC), the President of the United States, Donald Trump, raised his voice again, Thursday, June 11, by announcing economic sanctions against his magistrates. Objective: to dissuade the jurisdiction from prosecuting American soldiers for their implication in the conflict in Afghanistan.
The tenant of the White House signed a decree to this effect, in response to the decision taken in March by the court of The Hague to allow the opening of an investigation for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country , despite opposition from Washington.
The text signed by Donald Trump authorizes the United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in agreement with the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, to freeze the assets in United States of the officials of the International Criminal Court implicated in the investigation. President Trump has also authorized the extension of visa restrictions against his officials and family members.
“We can’t just sit idly by while our guys are threatened by a bogus court – and we won’t”hammered Mike Pompeo to the press with his defense and justice colleagues and the Presidential National Security Advisor during a media show of force.
“Undermining our national sovereignty”
ICC Prosecutor General Fatou Bensouda wants to investigate possible crimes committed between 2003 and 2014, including killings of civilians by Taliban insurgents and allegations of torture of prisoners by the Afghan authorities and, to a lesser extent, by American forces and the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency, one of the intelligence agencies in the United States).
The United States has not ratified the Rome Statute that founded the ICC in 2002. Afghanistan is a member, but Kabul believes that war crimes must be tried locally. In September 2019, Washington had already threatened the jurisdiction with sanctions if it decided to open an investigation.
“The actions of the International Criminal Court constitute an attack on the rights of the American people and threaten to undermine our national sovereignty”White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement released on Thursday.
“The International Criminal Court was created to account for war crimes but, in reality, it is an inexplicable and ineffective international bureaucracy that targets and threatens American personnel, as well as that of our allies and partners. . “
Furthermore, according to Kayleigh McEnany, Russia could be at the helm in this investigation which “Integrity” can be questioned. Charges relayed by Justice Minister Bill Barr and the White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien.
Washington’s fierce opposition to the ICC also concerns investigations “Politically motivated” against Israel, who may be the subject of war crimes investigations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Thursday the decision of the United States.
“Reiterate our support for this institution”
The head of European diplomacy, the Spaniard Josep Borrell, said “Very concerned” by the American decree.
“The European Union is a strong supporter of the International Criminal Court, which sits in The Hague, and I think I can reiterate our support for this institution, because it has played a key role in the establishment of international justice and in the suppression of the most serious international crimes. “
“We will analyze the decision [de Donald Trump] in order to assess all its implications and the Foreign Affairs Council will have a say in this matter “, he added. EU foreign ministers are meeting by videoconference Monday, June 15, and an interview is scheduled with Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state.