More than half of the International Criminal Court (ICC) members, 67 to be precise, have reaffirmed their support for the body in the face of the U.S. sanctions on its employees to halt the Afghan war crimes probe.
In a joint statement drafted by Costa Rica and Switzerland, members pledged their “unwavering support” for the tribunal and the Rome Statute that is its foundation.
“We reiterate our commitment to uphold and defend the principles and values enshrined in the Rome Statute and to preserve its integrity undeterred by any measures or threats against the Court, its officials and those cooperating with it,” the statement read.
The signatories also stressed on the importance of the Hague-based ICC as a “central institution in the fight against impunity.”
“We call on all States to ensure full cooperation with the Court for it to carry out its important mandate of ensuring justice for the victims of the most serious crimes of international concern.”
Judge O-Gon Kwon, who is president of the Assembly of State Parties and a noted jurist, thanked the countries for their support.
67 States Parties joined the statement today to show unwavering support for the Court and the Rome Statute system. Thank Costa Rica and Switzerland for their initiative! pic.twitter.com/G07Kk850nZ
— O-Gon Kwon (@ICC_PASP) June 23, 2020
The signatories include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and the U.K. to name a few.
U.S. President Donald Trump, on June 11, sanctioned all ICC employees who were involved in an investigation into alleged American war crimes during the Afghan war.
The investigation had been green lighted in March and was looking at possible war crimes committed between 2003 and 2014, including the alleged torture of prisoners by U.S. forces and its intelligence agency.
The U.S. opposed what they called politically motivated prosecutions of the U.S. and their allies.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “We cannot, we will not stand by as our people are threatened by a kangaroo court.”
The sanctions froze financial assets of the ICC employees and were expanded to include visa restrictions against them and their family, preventing their entry into the U.S.