US Revokes Fatou Bensouda’s Entry Visa Over War Crimes Probe

By Soko Directory Team / Published April 5, 2019 | 6:32 am





The United States has revoked the entry visa for International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, over her investigations into possible war crimes in Afghanistan.

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State in a statement last month had said that the US would withdraw or deny visas for ICC personnel probing the war crimes leveled against the American forces in Afghanistan.

According to human rights experts from the United Nations, Washington is carrying out an “improper interference” in the work of the court, which is mandated to prosecute persons for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.

The move by the US has drawn criticism from the European Union.

“We can confirm that the U.S. authorities have revoked the prosecutor’s visa for entry into the US,” Bensouda’s office told the Reuters news agency in an e-mail on Thursday.

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Also, in March the US secretary of state declared that Washington was ready to take additional steps, including economic sanctions if the ICC failed to change its course.

The US continues to work with international investigators over their probe into possible war crimes of US military forces in Afghanistan, citing that they violate US sovereignty.

US President Donald Trump’s administration had previously rebuked and questioned the ICC. One of National Security Adviser John Bolton’s first speeches was about the ICC, condemning its investigation into US personnel.

The U.S. is not a member of the ICC, along with other major powers Russia and China. Washington insists that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over American citizens because the US never ratified the Rome Statute that established the court in the first place.

It also isn’t a UN court, however, Bensouda often makes visits to brief the UN Security Council on cases referred to The Hague by the UN body.

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According to the State Department spokesperson, personnel from the international organizations looking to travel to the UN could apply for diplomatic visas.

“We recommend that applicants apply as early as possible to maximize the chances of being found eligible,” the spokesman said.

Statements from the office of the prosecutor on Thursday noted that Bensouda will continue exercising her duties “without fear or favor”.

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

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Since the US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and overthrew a Taliban regime in power, the US forces have remained there through various US presidents including George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump.

Obama was planning to withdraw the troops in 2013 but a year later, the forces returned to Iraq under the pretext of fighting the Daesh terrorist group.

During his election, Trump had also promised to end military presence in the country but has since changed his mind.

Over the years, the ICC has repeatedly highlighted alleged abuses of detainees by American troops between 2003 and 2005 that it believes have not been adequately addressed by the US government.

The ICC judges are still going through possible evidence before handing down a decision on opening a formal investigation in Afghanistan.

The ICC, with a total of 122 member states, usually acts where countries within its jurisdiction are unwilling or are unable to carry out serious investigations over war crimes, genocide or other serious atrocities.




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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