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US sanctions ICC

Assets frozen over attempts to investigate US war crimes in Afghanistan

On 2 September, the US government imposed economic sanctions on two senior officials of the international criminal court (ICC): chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, and Phakiso Mochochoko, director of the court’s prosecution jurisdiction division.

The sanctions include the freezing of any assets they hold in the US and barring them from any access to the US financial system.

Announcing the sanctions, shortly after returning from Israel, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said: ‘We will not tolerate illegitimate attempts by the ICC to bring Americans under its jurisdiction.’

The US and Israel face investigations by the court for suspected war crimes in Afghanistan and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, respectively.

The ICC’s probes, still in a preliminary stage, represent a challenge to the impunity of both states as well as a test of the credibility of the tribunal.

The US and Israel reject the application of ICC jurisdiction that could see the indictment of their nationals.

David Polden is the PN news editor

Topics: Afghanistan