Pompeo Revokes Visa For Top War Crimes Prosecutor

The New York Times reports:

The United States has revoked the visa of the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor because of her attempts to investigate allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, including any that may have been committed by American forces.

The visa revocation — confirmed on Friday by the office of the chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and the State Department in Washington — was assailed by rights advocates as unprecedented interference by the United States into the workings of the court, established nearly two decades ago to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ms. Bensouda, a Gambian lawyer for the court which is based in The Hague, formally requested an investigation nearly two years ago into possible war crimes in Afghanistan. The inquiry would mostly cover events between 2002 and 2004 and include allegations of rape, torture and the killing of prisoners.

Courthouse News reports:

Under the Trump administration, antagonism to the ICC’s mandate has escalated from stern words to harsh actions and reprisals on the world stage. President Donald Trump savaged the international body before the U.N. General Assembly last year.

“As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority,” Trump said in an address steeped in themes of nationalism and sovereignty.

“The ICC claims near-universal jurisdiction over the citizens of every country, violating all principles of justice, fairness, and due process,” Trump had added. “We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy.”

The Guardian reports:

Pompeo’s move came as he delivered another snub to multilateralism by skipping a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in France on Friday and sending his deputy, John Sullivan.

Bensouda’s office said she had an “independent and impartial mandate” under the Rome statute governing the ICC. “The prosecutor and her office will continue to undertake that statutory duty with utmost commitment and professionalism, without fear or favour,” it added.

Bensouda makes regular trips to the UN in New York, where she gives briefings to the security council. The UN office is seen as covered by a form of diplomatic immunity. “It is our understanding that [the visa withdrawal] should not have an impact on the prosecutor’s travel to the US to meet her obligations to the UN,” a spokesperson for her office said.