US Deny Visas of ICC Personnel Investigating War Crimes

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In the meantime, UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing that the United Nations is studying the potential consequences of the United States' decision to deny visas to International Criminal Court personnel.

Human rights defenders expressed outrage on Friday after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed that the Trump administration is revoking or denying visas for any International Criminal Court (ICC) personnel who try to investigate or prosecute US officials or key allies for potential war crimes.

"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 on March 15.

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

Pompeo went on to say, "this includes persons who take or have taken action to request or further section an investigation - these visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue ally personnel, including Israelis, without ally's consent".

This past September, Bolton said the ICC was a direct threat to USA national security interests and he threatened its personnel with both visa revocations and financial sanctions should it try to move against Americans.

"The Trump administration is trying an end run around accountability", it said.

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Bolton questioned the legitimacy of The Hague-based court, its mission and mandate, warned that the United States 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. Pompeo said Friday that more measures may come. While she didn't target the USA military, Bensouda said the inquiry sought "support and cooperation" from the Afghan government, other state parties and the global 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".

The Hague-based ICC did not comment specifically about the visa threat, but it insisted it is an independent and impartial institution and would continue to do its work "undeterred" by any USA actions. "The ICC, as a court of law, will continue to do its independent work, undeterred, in accordance with its mandate and the overarching principle of the rule of law".

Human Rights Watch called the announcement a "thuggish attempt to penalize investigators" at the court.

The court has been hobbled by refusal of the US, Russia, China and other major nations to join.

Daniel Balson, advocacy director at Amnesty International USA, noted that this is just "the latest attack on international justice and international institutions by an administration hellbent on rolling back human rights protections".

It said that all states were obliged to prosecute and punish the most serious crimes.