US takes drastic actions against ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

The US threatens economic sanctions 

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

The United States is reported to have revoked the entry visa for the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda.

Ms Bensouda's office reported this on Thursday, which is thought to be in response to her inquiry into possible war crimes by the US forces in Afghanistan.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned they might refuse or revoke visas to any ICC staff involved in such investigations.

UN reacts

Pompeo said: "If you're responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of US personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, you should not assume that you will still have or get a visa, or that you will be permitted to enter the United States."

The US State Secretary even threatened to take additional steps, including economic sanctions if the ICC does not change its course.

United Nations human rights experts called the reaction “improper interference” in the work of the world’s permanent war crimes court. It also drew criticism from within the European Union.

Bensouda unshaken

The office of the prosecutor maintained that Bensouda would exercise her duties “without fear or favor”.

Bensouda has been investigating alleged war crimes by all parties in the conflict in Afghanistan since November 2017, including the possible role of U.S. personnel in relation to the detention of suspects.

ICC judges are still reviewing materials and have not yet handed down a decision on opening a formal investigation in Afghanistan.

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