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U.S. Revokes Visa or I.C.C. Prosecutor Pursuing Afghan War Crimes



PARIS – The United States has revoked the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor because of its attempts to investigate allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, including any that may have been committed by American forces.

The visa revocation – confirmed on Friday at the office of the chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, and the State Department in Washington genocide and crimes against humanity

Ms. Bensouda, a Gambian lawyer for the court, which is based in The Hague, requested and investigated more than a year ago in war crimes in Afghanistan. The inquiry would mostly focus on large-scale crimes against civilians attributed to the Taliban and Afghan government forces.

But it would also examine alleged C.I.A. and American military abuse in detention centers in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004, and at sites in Poland, Lithuania and Romania, putting the court directly at odds with the United States.

“The USA Government should actively invite the prosecutor to come and meet, not ban her from traveling, "Amnesty International's Center for International Justice said on Twitter . “Cooperation with the I.C.C. is in the United States interests – to share relevant information and show there is nothing to hide. ”

Mr. Pompeo, a March news briefing in Washington, said investigators "should not assume that you will have or will get a visa, or you will be allowed to enter the United States" if they are part of a I.C.C. investigation. He also said the United States was prepared to take further action.

"These visas will not be the end of our efforts," Mr. Pompeo said at the time. “We are prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions in the I.C.C. does not change its course. ”

At the time of Mr. Pompeo's announcement, Human Rights Watch called the announcement of visa bans and effort of " Conduct. "

Mr. Pompeo's remarks also drew condemnation from I.C.C. member states, with a group of 22 foreign ministers expressing their concerns over the move last month.

The decision to revoke Ms. Bensouda's visa is not expected to affect access to the United Nations headquarters in New York, which is protected by an agreement between the United States and the global body.

into crimes in Libya and the Darfur region of Sudan, which were referred to the court by the council.

or to move forward with a potential investigation, Ms. Bensouda has said.

Asked on Friday about the decision by the Americans, a United Nations spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, reiterated its diplomatic agreement with the United States.

comply with its bond under the agreement, ”Mr. Dujarric said. "Our assumption is that it is the prosecutor, when she needs to come to the United Nations, will be afforded a work for work done at the United Nations." Bensouda is the only known court official targeted at Washington so far, but the issue raises the question of whether, in Afghanistan investigation moves ahead, other officials would be barred from the United States.

Last week, the president of the court , Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, was able to deliver a speech in Washington without any issues. But the United States has made it clear that it would not cooperate in any potential Afghanistan investigation.

The United States is not the first country to have barred senior court officials. A forms I.C.C. prosecutors and staff members were effectively denied entry to Sudan by its ruler, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, indicted on charges of genocide and other crimes; and Ms. Bensouda and her team were denied entry to Burundi to investigate charges against its president.

In recent years the I.C.C. has some of its backers, who have observed its slow pace, inefficiencies and internal squabbles – and how many member governments only offer half-hearted support, and fail to carry out court-ordered arrest warrants. Some of those supporters saw the Trump administration as another blow to the body, albeit a double-edged one.

prosecutor, "said Stephen Rapp, a former American ambassador for war crimes who also served as an international prosecutor.

" We have always been on the side of prosecutorial and judicial independence, and against authoritarian regimes that demand that justice bend to political power, ”he said. By revoking the visa, he said, "we act like we have something to hide and in the process put ourselves on the same page as the worlds thugs and dictators."


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