The Trump administration will issue economic sanctions against international officials who are investigating possible war crimes by American troops in Afghanistan and bar them from entering the United States, senior officials announced Thursday.
President Trump ordered the restrictions as a warning to the International Criminal Court, where investigators have collected evidence of crimes against humanity — including torture and rape — by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and in C.I.A. interrogation facilities abroad.
The sanctions and visa restrictions were announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, Attorney General William P. Barr and Robert O’Brien, the White House national security adviser.
“We are concerned that adversary nations are manipulating the International Criminal Court by encouraging these allegations against United States personnel,” the Trump administration said in a statement.
It also cited “strong reason to believe there is corruption and misconduct” by the court and its chief prosecutor, “calling into question the integrity of its investigation into American service members.”
In Thursday’s announcement at the State Department, Mr. Barr said American officials are concerned that Russia is trying to manipulate the court.
The United States is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court, which was created in 2002 to investigate crimes against humanity and genocide, and is based in The Hague, in the Netherlands. But American citizens can be subject to its jurisdiction if the court is investigating crimes in countries that have joined, including Afghanistan.
Afghan officials also have objected to the inquiry and said they are independently investigating possible war crimes.
Mr. Pompeo called the court’s inquiry a “truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution, masquerading as a legal body.” (Courtesy New York Times)