SWITZERLAND, JUNE 12 – The Trump administration has launched an attack on the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is set up to prosecute war crimes and genocide, authorizing economic sanctions against officials investigating or prosecuting U.S. personnel without Washington’s consent.
The decision to slap sanctions on court officials comes after ICC appeals judges authorized an investigation in March into allegations of war crimes by U.S. military and intelligence personnel, Afghan forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
President Donald Trump also authorized the expansion of visa restrictions against ICC officials and their family members.
“The International Criminal Court’s actions are an attack on the rights of the American people and threaten to infringe upon our national sovereignty,” the White House said in a statement.
In order to place economic sanctions on these officials, the president had to declare a national emergency, using authorities more often reserved for pursuing terrorists or actions against North Korea and Iran.
The administration said it had “strong reason to believe” that there is “corruption and misconduct” at the highest levels of the prosecutor’s office, but provided no evidence to back up this claim.
In a statement, the ICC said that the U.S. move marked the latest “in a series of unprecedented attacks” on the ICC that constitute an “unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and the court’s judicial proceedings.”
“An attack on the ICC also represents an attack against the interests of victims of atrocity crimes, for many of whom the court represents the last hope for justice,” it added.
The decision on the war crimes investigation by the Hague-based court in March overturned a ruling by a lower chamber last year that blocked the probe concluding, among other reasons, that its chances of success and prosecution were “extremely limited.”
The Trump administration has repeatedly lambasted the court.