France demands US backtrack on ICC sanctions

French Foreign Minister says US decision to impose sanctions on ICC employees is an attack on parties to Rome Statute.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

International Criminal Court at The Hague
International Criminal Court at The Hague

France on Friday called on the US to withdraw its decision to impose sanctions against employees of the International Criminal Court, saying the move is an attack on states party to the Rome Statute.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement quoted by Reuters that the US decision risks putting into question the independence of the justice system.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order imposing sanctions on individuals involved in the ICC investigation into alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan.

The order authorizes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to freeze assets of ICC officials involved in the investigation. In addition, Pompeo will be authorized to block these officials from entering the US.

President Trump also cited the ICC's war crimes investigations against Israel when signing the order.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced this past December that she intends to open a full investigation into alleged Israeli “war crimes”, and recently ruled that “Palestine” is a state and the ICC has jurisdiction involving its cases.

In response to the US sanctions, ICC president O-Gon Kwon said they “are unprecedented. They undermine our common endeavor to fight impunity and to ensure accountability for mass atrocities. I deeply regret measures targeting Court officials, staff and their families.”

“I call upon the States Parties and all the stakeholders in the Rome Statute system to reiterate once more our relentless commitment to uphold and defend the principles and values enshrined in the Statute and to preserve its integrity undeterred by any measures and threats against the Court and its officials, staff and their families,” he added.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)