Friday, March 24, 2023

US sanctions ICC prosecutor over Afghan war crimes probe

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

The United States of America has announced sanctions against the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for her continued probe into alleged war crimes committed by US forces in Afghanistan.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Washington would freeze US assets belonging to Fatou Bensouda who is from Gambia.

US President Donald Trump has for long been pushing back against the Hague-based tribunal.

Last year Fatou Bensouda was prevented from entering into the United States of America after the U.S government revoked Ms Bensouda’s visa.

This was because her office decided to investigate the possible war crimes by American forces and their allies in Afghanistan.

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“Today we take the next step, because the ICC continues to target Americans, sadly,” Pompeo told reporters.

He added that “We will not tolerate its illegitimate attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction,” calling the court “a thoroughly broken and corrupt institution.”

The U.S has maintained that probing the actions of it’s troops in Afghanistan was an attack on its rule of law.

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo warned last year that the U.S government is “prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions if the ICC does not change its course” after revoking her visa.

One of Bensouda’s top aides, the court’s head of jurisdiction, Phakiso Mochochoko, would also be subject to an asset freeze, Pompeo said.

He warned that individuals and entities that continue to materially support the pair could be sanctioned as well.

What is the probe focusing on?

The ICC prosecutor in 2017 requested from judges at the court to authorize an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

Those crimes were believed to have been committed by the Taliban, Afghan government forces and international forces, including US troops.

The court has carried out similar investigations in other countries where there are reports of war crimes.

The court hopes carrying out such probes will bring people responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes to justice.

Usually such probes and prosecutions take place when there are indications national authorities would not take action.

The ICC which was established by a UN treaty in 2002 has face a lot of criticisms in recent times despite it’s membership of 123 countries.

But countries like China, India, USA and Russia, have all refused to join.


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