The United States will impose visa restrictions on people responsible for any International Criminal Court probe, a move aimed at preventing actions against US and allies in Afghanistan, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.
“I’m announcing a policy of US visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of US personnel,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.
Pompeo’s remarks come as the US National Security Advisor John Bolton in a speech on last September threatened the ICC and its staff with sanctions if it proceeds investigations into alleged war crimes by American troops in Afghanistan.
Bolton questioned the legitimacy of The Hague-based court, its mission and mandate, warned that the US would thwart any attempt by its prosecutors to open investigations into Americans for alleged war crimes and other abuses in conflicts in Afghanistan or elsewhere. Bolton, a leading critic of the ICC said the Trump administration would impose sanctions on the court and take other measures to hamper its ability to function should it proceed with such probes.
"The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court," Bolton said.
"We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us."
Bolton said the US would "not sit quietly" if the ICC came after it, Israel or other US allies. He said ICC judges and prosecutors would be banned from coming to the US, their assets in US jurisdictions frozen and they would face prosecution in the United States.
Similar measures will be taken against any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans, he said.