Entering into a strong contradiction with the United States government, led by Donald Trump, the United Kingdom has officially expressed in recent hours its total support for the International Criminal Court, whose officials intimidated the White House with embargoes and sanctions.
In a rare break with its US allies, London has expressed its support for the International Criminal Court, saying the legal body should be allowed to work.
“The UK strongly supports the International Criminal Court in tackling impunity for the worst international crimes,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Saturday.
“We will continue to support positive reform of the court, so that it operates as effectively as possible. ICC officials should be able to carry out their work independently and impartially, and without fear of sanction,” Raab added.
Raab’s comments follow Washington’s announcement Thursday that the Trump administration has authorized sanctions and travel restrictions against ICC officials investigating the activities of US military and intelligence personnel in Afghanistan for possible war crimes. In a statement to the media following the signing of the executive order, Attorney General William Barr claimed that the US had substantial, credible information about alleged ‘financial corruption’ in the ICC that “calls into question the integrity of the ICC’s investigations.”
In May, the ICC launched a probe into alleged US war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan going back to 2003, including the alleged torture of prisoners at secret CIA black site prisons in Eastern Europe. Before the probe’s approval, the US attempted to block the investigation and to issue individual restrictions against ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, denying her a US entry visa.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the “corrupt” ICC of going after America and “our friends and allies and Israel and elsewhere,” stressing that Washington was “determine to prevent” this from happening. On Thursday, Israel’s Channel 13 reported that Tel Aviv and Washington had coordinated their actions to sanction the ICC. The ICC has a separate Israel investigation dedicated to alleged Israel crimes committed in “occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014.”
On Thursday, President Trump issued an executive order authorizing economic sanctions and travel restrictions against the International Criminal Court workers involved in probing US troops and intelligence personnel for possible war crimes in Afghanistan without US consent.