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Washington sanctions International Criminal Court officials investigating US war crimes

Washington sanctions International Criminal Court officials investigating US war crimes
The Donald Trump administration is imposing economic sanctions on International Criminal Court officials who are engaged with “any effort” to investigate or prosecute US personnel for war crimes.

In a statement on Thursday, the White House press office said President Donald Trump has also authorized the “expansion of visa restrictions” against ICC officials and their family members.

The US has repeatedly threatened to impose sanctions on the Hague-based court and asserted that it has no right to investigate or prosecute US personnel without Washington’s consent.

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The White House statement described the court’s actions as “an attack on the rights of the American people” and a threat to “infringe upon our national sovereignty.”

It added that the ICC was established “to provide accountability for war crimes” but said “in practice” it had become “unaccountable and ineffective.”

Efforts by the ICC to investigate allegations of war crimes by Israel against Palestinians have also drawn ire from the Trump administration.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued in May that Palestine does not “qualify as a sovereign state" and that the court cannot conduct "illegitimate" investigations against Israel. He threatened that the US would "exact consequences" if the court continued its efforts to investigate alleged crimes.

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In the Thursday statement, the White House said the ICC was pursuing “politically-motivated investigations” against the US and its allies “including Israel.”

Without offering evidence, the statement said the US was concerned that “adversary nations are manipulating” the court by “encouraging” allegations against American personnel.

It claimed there is “strong reason to believe” that there is “corruption and misconduct” at the “highest levels” of the court which call its integrity into question.

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