Trump administration's threat to International Criminal Court

By agency reporter
September 13, 2018

On 10 September 2018, President Trump’s national security advisor, John R. Bolton, addressed the Federalist Society. Speaking about the International Criminal Court, Bolton stated, “We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system.”

Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Programme, issued the following statement in response: “The Trump administration’s threat to criminally prosecute and sanction International Criminal Court judges and prosecutors is straight out of an authoritarian playbook.

"The unprecedented threat comes as US officials face, for the first time, the spectre of full criminal investigation by the court for possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, which is an ICC member. This misguided and harmful policy will only further isolate the United States from its closest allies and give solace to war criminals and authoritarian regimes seeking to evade international accountability. The Trump administration’s unwavering campaign to undermine universal human rights must be strongly resisted to avoid further damage to the institutions that were created to protect human dignity and fight impunity.”

After a decade of collecting evidence, the International Criminal Court announced last year that it will take steps toward a full investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed over the course of the armed conflict in Afghanistan since May 2003. If the investigation proceeds, ACLU clients Khaled El Masri, Suleiman Salim, and Mohamed Ben Soud – all of whom were detained and tortured in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2008 – could participate in the legal proceedings as victims and witnesses.

* American Civil Liberties Union https://www.aclu.org/

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