Trump OKs sanctions against international tribunal employees
WASHINGTON — In a broadside against the International Criminal Court, President Donald Trump on Thursday authorized economic and travel sanctions against court workers investigating U.S. troops and intelligence officials and those of allied nations, including Israel, for possible war crimes in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The order would block the financial assets of court employees and bar them and their immediate relatives from entering the United States. While Israel welcomed the move, there were expressions of concern and condemnation from the United Nations, the European Union and human rights groups.
The Hague-based court was created in 2002 to prosecute war crimes and crimes of humanity and genocide in places where perpetrators might not otherwise face justice. The court has 123 state parties that recognize its jurisdiction. The U.S. has never been an ICC member.
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 that the U.S. would punish the ICC employees for any investigation or prosecution of Americans in Afghanistan and added that they could also be banned for prosecuting Israelis for alleged abuses against Palestinians.
“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.”
Attorney General William Barr said the U.S. would investigate possible corruption within the ICC that he said raised suspicions that Russia and other adversaries could be interfering.