No comments...US government threatens families of Int’l Criminal Court staff if they try Americans for war crimes
By Ben Norton
https://thegrayzone.com/2020/03/20/us-t ... nal-court/
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has threatened the family members of International Criminal Court staff, vowing that Washington will take punitive action against them if the court tries American soldiers for war crimes.
Pompeo also announced an intensification of unilateral US sanctions on Iran and Syria, which are illegal under international law, and which are undermining the countries’ attempts to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
In March 2019, the Pompeo State Department threatened to revoke or deny visas to any International Criminal Court (ICC) personnel investigating crimes committed by American forces.
A year later, on March 5, 2020, the ICC took a defiant step forward, officially approving an investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the US military and CIA in Afghanistan.
Pompeo responded by angrily condemning the court and its proceedings. His broadside was an apparent attempt at discrediting the institution, which the US government is not a party to.
In a subsequent State Department press briefing on March 17, Pompeo launched another tirade against the ICC, belittling it as a “so-called court,” a “nakedly political body,” and an “embarrassment.”
Pompeo, who previously served as director of the CIA, took the denunciations a step further, threatening the family members of ICC staff.
“We want to identify those responsible for this partisan investigation and their family members who may want to travel to the United States or engage in activity that’s inconsistent with making sure we protect Americans,” Pompeo said, according to the US State Department’s official transcript.
Sarah Leah Whitson, the managing director for research and policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, drew attention to the “shocking attack” on Twitter.
“This isn’t just unlawful collective punishment against family members; it’s not just a disturbing attack on staff of a judiciary — where the US has voted to refer other nations for prosecution; it’s abuse of federal authority to use sanctions against actual wrongdoers,” said Whitson, who previously directed the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch.
Whitson called on Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders to “condemn this US State Department assault on the staff and FAMILIES of ICC – abuse of sanctions authority in flagrant attack on judicial independence, unlawful collective punishment.”
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