Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok has slammed the US for launching economic and and other sanctions against people working at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, saying he is ‘very disturbed’ by the US measures.
‘The ICC is crucial in the fight against impunity and in upholding international rule of law,’ Blok said on Twitter and called on the US not to sanction ICC staff, while reiterating the Netherlands’ support for the ICC.
The Trump administration’s offensive is in response to the court’s decision to start an investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan, carried out by all sides, including the US.
The US said on Thursday it will also impose visa restrictions on the families of ICC officials and is launching a counter investigation into the organisation for alleged corruption.
The ICC’s actions are an ‘attack on the rights of the American people and threaten to infringe upon our national sovereignty,’ White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.’ The United States will continue to use any means necessary to protect our citizens and our allies from unjust prosecution by the International Criminal Court.’
The ICC issued a statement saying it ‘stands firmly by its staff and officials and remains unwavering in its commitment’ to carry out its job.
These attacks ‘constitute an escalation and an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and the court’s judicial proceedings’, the court said. ‘An attack on the ICC also represents an attack against the interests of victims of atrocity crimes, for many of whom the court represents the last hope for justice.’
— Int’l Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) June 11, 2020
The ICC is the world’s first permanent tribunal to try those suspected of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Its establishment is based on a treaty signed in Rome in 1998. The court is recognised by over 100 countries, but not the United States or Russia.
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