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Fatou Bensouda. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for Cinema For Peace)
Fatou Bensouda. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for Cinema For Peace)

Spiteful

U.S. cancels visa for top ICC prosecutor over potential war crimes investigation

By WITW Staff on April 5, 2019

International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has had her U.S. visa revoked by the Trump administration after refusing to back down on investigating U.S. soldiers for war crimes.

In 2017, Bensouda asked ICC judges for permission to open investigations into alleged war crimes perpetrated in Afghanistan by government forces, the Taliban, and international troops, included Americans. The investigation would also likely examine the CIA’s treatment of prisoners in detention centers operated by the agency in Afghanistan.

The announcement exacerbated tensions between the U.S and the ICC, whose authority the U.S. has refused to recognize since its inception in 2002. The court has yet to formally announce a full-blown investigation. Despite this, in March U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that he would restrict travel for any ICC staff who dared to look into any U.S. military actions. He accused the ICC of “attacking America’s rule of law,” and warned that any “individuals responsible for any ICC investigation of U.S. personnel” would have their visas restricted or revoked.

In a statement delivered by Bensouda’s office, the Gambian national was defiant, and pledged to uphold her “independent and impartial mandate” to ensure that countries are meeting international standards for human rights.

“The prosecutor and her office will continue to undertake that statutory duty with utmost commitment and professionalism, without fear or favour,” the statement read. The revocation of Bensouda’s visa isn’t expected to impede her trips to the United Nations in New York, the offices of which are covered by diplomatic immunity.

The move opened yet another rift between the U.S. and the international community. Today, the Trump administration refused to send delegates to the G7 meeting in France, casting a shadow over the summit.

Read the full story at the Guardian.

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