The Trump administration has barred International Criminal Court (ICC) investigators from entering the US. Reports from October 2018 show US officials from both the Trump and Obama administrations have been concerned over the implications of a 2013 ICC ruling that expanded the legal definition of aiding and abetting war crimes. The ruling could lead to charges being filed against US officials, including Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
In September of last year, John Bolton threatened US sanctions against ICC judges who continue to investigate US war crimes. This past Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. will start denying visas to members of the ICC who are investigating US war crimes.
The investigations stem from a 2016 ICC report accusing the US military of torturing at least 61 people in Afghanistan and the CIA torturing and raping 27 people at CIA facilities in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania.
Mike Pompeo said on Friday, “Since 1998, the United States has declined to join the ICC because of its broad, unaccountable prosecutorial powers and the threat it poses to American national sovereignty. We are determined to protect the American and allied military and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation. We feared that the court could eventually pursue politically motivated prosecutions of Americans, and our fears were warranted.”
In an interview with Democracy Now, Jamil Dakwar, the director of the Human Rights Program at the ACLU said, “This is the first time that the U.S. government is targeting foreign judges and prosecutors, personnel of an international—one of the most respected international judicial bodies in the world, with a travel ban.”