U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order authorizing economic sanctions and travel restrictions against workers from the International Criminal Court investigations (ICC) investigating whether American troops committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
This is ICC’s first investigation of American forces, and both Afghan and U.S. officials have opposed it.
The signed executive order marks the Trump administration’s latest attack at a multilateral organisation, treaty or agreements that do not align with their beliefs.
“The International Criminal Court’s actions are an attack on the rights of the American people and threaten to infringe upon our national sovereignty,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
“The ICC was established to provide accountability for war crimes, but in practice it has been an unaccountable and ineffective international bureaucracy that targets and threatens United States personnel as well as personnel of our allies and partners.”
Another senior official said the ICC investigation was “being pushed forward by an organisation of dubious integrity” accusing Russia.
The order allows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in consultation with the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, to block financial assets in the U.S. of ICC employees who are directly engaged in investigating, harassing or detaining U.S. personnel.
It also authorises Pompeo from blocking the officials and their family members from entering the U.S.
ICC prosecutors had shown willingness to press ahead with the investigation and had launched one earlier this year.
Their chief prosecutor had announced in 2017 that they had enough evidence to prove that U.S. troops had “committed acts of torture, cruel treatments, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence” in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004.