Trump OKs sanc­tions against in­ter­na­tional tri­bunal em­ploy­ees

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - WEATHER DESK -

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.

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