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The United States vs the International Criminal Court

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcedthat the United states will deny or revoke the visas of ICC personnel who are involved in the preliminary examination into the situation in Afghanistan. Financial sanctions and restrictions on “persons who take or have taken action to request or further such investigations” were also suggested.

Reaction to the announcement was swift and broad.

“The US government’s policy undermines the rule of law in multilateral relations and sends the signal that might is right,” said Dr Tawanda Hondora, Executive Director of the World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy. “This policy gives cover and effective immunity to US nationals and allies for acts of torture, murder, rape and other war crimes in Afghanistan. It also sends a clear message that Afghani victims of some of the worst atrocities known to humanity are not deserving of justice.”

“The ICC, as a court of law, must continue to do its independent work, undeterred, in accordance with its mandate and the overarching principle of the rule of law,” said William R. Pace, Convenor of the Coalition for the ICC.

Global Affairs Canada released a statement saying that, “Canada firmly supports the rules-based international order and the multilateral institutions that underpin it. We are proud to support the International Criminal Court and the important work that it does. The court is essential to investigating and prosecuting the most serious crimes of international concern. Personnel of the International Criminal Court should not be targeted for the important work that they do.”

Federica Mogherini, the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice president of the EU Commission, said “we will continue to strongly and fully support the ICC and its work” and that this “is the strong position of this Parliament and of all our Member States.” Reactions from other countries and bodies are available here.

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