Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

US To Impose Visa Restrictions On ICC Personnel

US To Impose Visa Restrictions On ICC Personnel

The U.S. secretary of state said, "if you are requesting an ICC investigation of U.S. personnel in connection with a situation in Afghanistan, you can not assume you will get a visa to enter the U.S".

"These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, without allies' consent", he said.

Pompeo said "implementation" of the policy has already begun but he did not provide any details, citing confidentiality surrounding visa applications.

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.

Speaking directly to ICC employees, Pompeo said: "If you are responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of USA personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, you should not assume that you still have or will get a visa or will be permitted to enter the United States".

Nevertheless, Human Rights Watch was not happy by the Trump Admsinstatrion's latest move, calling it "thuggish".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greets coalition forces at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, on July 9, 2018.

"The ICC is attacking America's rule of law", Pompeo told reporters.

ICC prosecutors in November 2017 sought authorization from judges to initiate an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan since May 1, 2003.

US weighs visa ban against ICC officials probing American soldiers’ actions in Afghanistan

"That the administration has chosen visa bans, powerful tools typically reserved for the most serious of human rights abusers, to prevent investigation into allegations involving some of the most serious crimes in the world is highly indicative of its culture of disregard for rights abuses".

With 123 member states, including the entire European Union, the ICC is a court of last resort.

"We will not cooperate with the ICC", Bolton said.

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

A State Department official said the United States would allow court officials to travel for meetings to the United Nations headquarters in NY.

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, said ICC investigators were also seeking to probe the USA military's conduct "not just in Afghanistan, but also in black sites that we now know was spread across the globe, where they were held in secret detention for months, and where some say detainees were tortured". He said ICC judges and prosecutors would be banned from coming to the U.S., their assets in USA jurisdictions frozen and they would face prosecution in the United States.

"Attacking worldwide judicial actors for doing their jobs undermines global efforts to hold to account those most responsible for atrocity crimes such as torture and mass murder", Goldston said.

"Taking action against those who work for the ICC sends a clear message to torturers and murderers alike: Their crimes may continue unchecked", the group's Washington director, Andrea Prasow, said, calling on USA lawmakers to express support for the court.

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