The European Union (EU) Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini on Thursday announced EU’s full support to the International Criminal Court (ICC)- a week after US had warned the court not to investigate war crimes in Afghanistan.
Mogherini said the ICC was established to assess human rights violations and ensure accountability, but today it has been questioned- referring to the United States National security adviser John Bolton’s recent remarks over investigations of war crimes by ICC in Afghanistan.
Mogherini said the EU will strongly and fully continue its support to ICC to continue its activities and bring to justice the perpetrators of war crimes.
“I think it is important for me to say a few words on the system that we have built together to assess human rights violations and ensure accountability, bring the perpetrators to justice. Because today the existence of the International Criminal Court is being questioned and I think it is important to say in this semi-cycle, formally and clearly, that it is not questioned by the European Union and that we will continue to strongly and fully support the ICC and its work,” said Mogherini.
The European Union's top diplomat, Mogherini, said the bloc remains a staunch supporter of the International Criminal Court despite US condemnation of the tribunal.
According to Mogherini, the ICC has strengthened justice beyond politics, power and geopolitical interests adding that accountability is essential to build the foundation for peace and justice.
“ICC has strengthened universal justice beyond power politics and beyond geopolitical interests," added Mogherini.
The Hague-based court was created in 2002 to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in areas where perpetrators might not otherwise face justice.
Mogherini’s remarks come after the US National security adviser John Bolton denounced the ICC earlier this week just as a judge weighs whether to investigate allegations of war crimes against US and Afghan personnel in Afghanistan since 2003.
Bolton had said it is better for ICC to not investigate war crimes in Afghanistan, otherwise, US will put sanction on the court and will let it die on its own.
In his speech targeting the ICC, 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."