Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has decided to annul any active visas and reject the visa applications of any member of International Criminal Court (ICC) claiming the US or its allies to be indulged in war crimes.
Pompeo, in a press release on Friday in Washington said, “I’m announcing a policy of U.S. visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of U.S. personnel.”
Pompeo declared that the policy has been enacted however, has denied furnishing any information on those affected or will be affected. He has also warned that further steps, including economic sanctions will be taken if ICC does not stop pursuing the alleged war charges against the US or any allied forces.
ICC prosecutors in November 2017 requested the permission from judges to start an inquiry into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity from May 1, 2003 in Afghanistan. The appeal included the countries where the coveted Central Intelligence Agency of the US detained the prisoners.
The judges are currently investigating the reports submitted by ICC prosecutors, and are in doubt if they should proceed with the investigations.
Mike Pompeo claims to the reporters that “The ICC is attacking America’s rule of law and it’s not too late for the court to change course and we urge that it do so immediately and we are determined to protect American and allied civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation.”
He also stated that the government was compelled to safeguard its citizens and the policies are in place to deal with all those who engage in misconduct.
The ICC in return has asserted that it is non-aligned and unbiased, and would continue to carry out its duties “undeterred” by any US activity.
Many organizations condemn by making the statements like the US action “is a naked attempt to bully judges and impede justice for victims in Afghanistan and blatant contempt for the rule of law” and that international laws are of importance to US “only when it is aligned with US national interests”.
The actions of the US have raised speculations on why the US government is against the investigations of alleged war crimes performed in Afghanistan or anywhere else. Also, it seems that the ICC does not believe when the US claims that “The US government, where possible, takes legal action against those responsible for international crimes”.
In his statement, Mike Pompeo has yet not indicated if any possible criminal prosecution of the ICC members will be carried or not.