US blacklists ICC prosecutor over Afghan war crimes probe

Updated 03 Sep 2020

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Fatou Bensouda was given the go-ahead by the court in March to investigate whether war crimes were committed in Afghanistan by the Taliban, Afghan military and US forces. — Reuters
Fatou Bensouda was given the go-ahead by the court in March to investigate whether war crimes were committed in Afghanistan by the Taliban, Afghan military and US forces. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, over her investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.

Pompeo also said Phakiso Mochochoko, the head of the ICC’s Jurisdiction, Comple­mentarity and Cooperation Division, had also been blacklisted under sanctions authorised by President Donald Trump in June that allow for asset freezes and travel bans.

“Today we take the next step, because the ICC continues to target Americans, sadly,” Pompeo told reporters.

Pompeo also said that individuals and entities that continue to materially support Bensouda and Mochochoko would risk exposure to sanctions as well.

The State Department also restricted the issuance of visas for individuals Pompeo said were involved in the court’s efforts to investigate US personnel, though he did not name those affected.

Bensouda was given the go-ahead by the court in March to investigate whether war crimes were committed in Afghanistan by the Taliban, Afghan military and US forces.

The United States revoked Bensouda’s entry visa last year over the possible Afghanistan inquiry. But under an agreement between the United Nations and Washington, she was still able to regularly travel to New York to brief the UN Security Council on cases it had referred to the court in The Hague.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2020