Trump signs order imposing sanctions on International Criminal Court

US President orders sanctions against ICC for Afghanistan war crimes investigation, accuses court of 'politically persecuting Israel.'

Gary Willig ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing sanctions on individuals involved in the International Criminal Court's (ICC) investigation into alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan Thursday.

A senior administration official said the investigation is "being pushed forward by an organization of dubious integrity," Reuters reported. The official further stated that the US government suspects that the court is being manipulated by Russia to launch the investigation against America.

The order authorizes US 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.

"Despite our demand, the tribunal has also politically persecuted Israel, our ally," Trump said.

The Israeli government was aware that such an order would be forthcoming following Secretary Pompeo's visit to the Jewish State last month.

Pompeo delivered an unusually harsh statement against the ICC for launching investigations out of political motives.

"The International Criminal Court is a political body, not a judicial institution. This unfortunate reality has been confirmed yet again by the ICC Prosecutor's attempt to assert jurisdiction over Israel, which like the United States, is not a party to the Rome Statute that created the Court," Pompeo said.

"On April 30, the ICC Prosecutor re-affirmed her attempt to exercise jurisdiction over the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza through a new filing to the Court. As we made clear when the Palestinians purported to join the Rome Statute, we do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state, and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC," the secretary added.

Israeli officials praised the order. Yamina chairman MK Naftali Bennett wrote a response on Twitter, saying: "Thank you, yet again, Mr. President! The ICC is a corrupt and hypocritical organ, used by the worst enemies of freedom and justice. Great decision to sanction this farce. The ICC should be shut down."

Former Justice Minister MK Ayelet Shaked wrote: "The International Criminal Court is being misused by the Palestinians and others to pursue political campaigns against democracies, while distorting international law. We are grateful to President Trump for his important decision to sanction the ICC."