The United States will deny visas to any individual involved in initiating investigations or prosecutions against U.S. personnel at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Friday.
Pompeo said that the goal of the new policy, already being implemented, is to have the ICC change course with regards to the U.S. and its allies, especially Israel.
“Further measures, including economic sanctions, could follow,’’ Pompeo warned.
He appeared to be referring in particular to requests for investigations with regards to U.S. military actions in Afghanistan.
“The ICC is attacking America’s rule of law,’’ Pompeo said, adding that “it is not too late to change course and we urge it to do so immediately”.
Pompeo described the ICC as an organisation that has “broad, unaccountable” powers.
The U.S. top diplomat did not disclose how many people are being affected by the new U.S. sanctions.
James Goldston, the executive director of Open Society Justice Initiative, said the new sanctions would undermine efforts to hold to account those responsible for the worst war crimes.
“Secretary Pompeo’s remarks reflect this Administration’s view that international law matters only when it is aligned with U.S. national interests.
“But that’s not how law works,’’ he said on Twitter.
The ICC came into being in 2002 with over 120 members, including most European nations.
The U.S. is not a party to the ICC, along with other major powers, including Russia and China.