Published: Sat, April 06, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

US revokes ICC prosecutor's visa over Afghanistan probe

US revokes ICC prosecutor's visa over Afghanistan probe

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, ICC, Gambian Fatou Bensouda has been hit by a visa ban by the United States government over her office's decision to probe alleged war crimes by Americans.

The US administration led by Donald Trump had earlier launched dictatorial attacks on the judges of the ICC for the plan to open a war crimes investigation into the USA -led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Bensouda is reported to travel regularly to brief the UN Security Council on cases referred to The Hague by the body and her office confirmed that she would exercise her duties without fear.

The statement attributed to her office read as follows: "We can confirm that the U.S. authorities have revoked the Prosecutor's visa for entry into the US".

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said Friday that they "expect the United States to live up to the agreement to allow for the travel of ICC staff members to do their work at the United Nations".

In a statement confirming the revocation, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's office stressed that she "has an independent and impartial mandate" under the court's founding treaty, the Rome Statute.

Pompeo slammed the potential investigation an example of "politically motivated prosecutions of Americans".

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She has been investigating alleged war crimes by all parties in the conflict in Afghanistan since November 2017, including the possible role of USA personnel in relation to the detention of suspects.

Last month, the USA secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, announced restrictions on any ICC staff who investigated U.S. or allied personnel. However, the United States responded preemptively, with Pompeo warning on 15 March that the ICC was "attacking America's rule of law".

The move was criticized by the United Nations and the European Union. "We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans".

"The ICC therefore has jurisdiction over Rome Statute crimes committed on the territory of Afghanistan or by its nationals from 1 May 2003 onwards", the court said in its summary of a preliminary examination in 2013. The Palestinians have asked the ICC to investigate Israel for alleged human rights abuses.

Bensouda's office said that the revocation of her visa shouldn't have an impact on her travel to the US for meetings, including regular briefings at the UN Security Council.

"[We] will continue to honour our legal duty undeterred", Bensouda said on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, ICC President Chile Eboe-Osuji called on the USA leadership to support the court and to "join their closest allies and friends at the Rome Statute table".

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