EDITORIAL: U.S. Self-Interest Crucial To The ICC’s Pursuit Of International Justice
THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL Court (ICC) became the arbiter of international justice when it brought to justice President Charles Taylor for his crimes against humanity during the protracted period of civil war in Liberia, but the court seemingly did not learn that the self interest of the United States of America was crucial to that victory and all other ICC pursuits of international justice across the globe. Now the court is running into trouble with the U.S. government: Washington, D.C. has taken the unprecedented step of issuing sanction against two of its members in the Hague, blocking their properties. The action posted on Wednesday by the U.S. Treasury Department affects the Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian national who has headed the ICC since June 2012, and Phakiso Mochochoko, head of the ICC’s Jurisdiction, Complementary and Cooperation Division. According to Secretary Pompeo, Mochochoko “materially assisted the Court’s Chief Prosecutor in the investigations of U.S. personnel”.
BENSOUDA, A FORMER Deputy Prosecutor in charge of the Prosecutions Division of the ICC since 2004 and former Minister of Justice of her home country, the Gambia, West Africa, angered the U.S. administration when she announced a plan last year to investigate American soldiers for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said, “Today, we take the next step, because the ICC continues to target Americans sadly.”
IN THE EFFORT of the U.S. government to protect America self-interest, the U.S. has already blocked visas to the ICC officials to deny them entry into the United States to pursue their investigation. The American government says it will take additional visa restrictions and broader sanctions against anyone helping the ICC officials. Last July, President Donald Trump authorized sanctions against the ICC over its move to open investigation for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity of American soldiers in Afghanistan.
US PRESIDENT DONALD John Trump, in his Executive Order issued in June, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Associated With the International Criminal Court”, observed, “I therefore determine that any attempt by the ICC to investigate, arrest, detain or prosecute any United States personnel without the consent of the United States, or of personnel of countries that are United States allies and who are not parties to the Rome Statute or have not otherwise consented to ICC jurisdiction, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.”
ACCORDING TO SECTION 1. (a) of the U.S. President’s Executive Order as it relates to the two ICC officials, “All properties and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in…”