Majority of ICC Members Backs Tribunal in Face of US Sanctions


Mike Corder | AP/Star Tribune – TRANSCEND Media Service

The entrance of the International Criminal Court is seen in The Hague, March 3, 2011. [File: Reuters]

23 Jun 2020 – More than half of the member states of the International Criminal Court voiced their support for the institution in a strongly worded statement issued today in response to the Trump administration’s decision to authorize sanctions against court staff.

The 67 nations, including such U.S. allies as Australia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, said in the joint statement that they were reconfirming “our unwavering support for the Court as an independent and impartial judicial institution.”

The participating countries also reiterated their commitment to preserving the court’s integrity “undeterred by any measures or threats against the Court, its officials and those cooperating with it.”

On June 11, President Donald Trump authorized economic and travel sanctions against International Criminal Court workers who were investigating troops and intelligence officials from the United States and allied nations, including Israel, for possible war crimes in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The Hague-based court was created in 2002 to prosecute war crimes, crimes of humanity and genocide in countries where authorities cannot or will not bring perpetrators to justice. The U.S. has never been an ICC member.

Human Rights Watch welcomed the pledge of support from other member states.

“This statement is highly significant because ICC member states globally, including key .U.S allies, are speaking up in defense of the court and its independence” Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch, said. “It sends the crucial message that ICC states ‘have the court’s back’ and they will not be cowed in their commitment to seeing justice for crimes against humanity and war crimes.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced the tribunal as a “kangaroo court” that has been unsuccessful and inefficient in its mandate to prosecute war crimes. He said the U.S. would punish the ICC employees for any investigation or prosecution of Americans in Afghanistan. The court personnel could also be banned from the U.S. for prosecuting Israelis for alleged abuses against Palestinians, he said.

“It gives us no joy to punish them,” Pompeo said. “But we cannot allow ICC officials and their families to come to the United States to shop and travel and otherwise enjoy American freedoms as these same officials seek to prosecute the defender of those very freedoms.”

Last year, Pompeo revoked the visa of the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, after she asked ICC judges to open an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. The judges initially rejected the request, but Bensouda appealed and the court authorized the investigation in March.

That ruling marked the first time the court’s prosecutor was cleared to investigate U.S. forces. The case involves allegations of war crimes committed by Afghan national security forces, Taliban and Haqqani network militants, as well as by U.S. forces and intelligence officials in Afghanistan since May 2003.

Bensouda has said there is information that members of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence.”

The 67 nations that signed off on Tuesday’s statement called the court “an essential component of the multilateral architecture upholding the rule-of-law. It embodies our collective commitment to fight impunity for international crimes.”

They said that by giving the court their full backing, “we defend the progress we have made together towards an international rules-based order, of which international justice is an indispensable pillar.”

Go to Original –

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share this article:

DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Comments are closed.