05:56, April 05 270 0 theguardian.com

2019-04-05 05:56:05
US revokes visa of international criminal court's top prosecutor

The United States has revoked the visa of the international criminal court’s chief prosecutor, her office has said, over a possible investigation into American soldiers’ actions in Afghanistan.

A statement said Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian national, would continue to pursue her duties for the Hague-based court “without fear or favour” despite the ban.

Last month the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, announced restrictions on any ICC staff who investigated US or allied personnel.

Bensouda’s office said that under the Rome statute governing the ICC – which Washington has declined to join since it was set up in 2002 – she had an “independent and impartial mandate”.

It said the US decision was not expected to affect Bensouda’s travel to the United Nations in New York, where she gives regular briefings to the security council.

There was no immediate comment from Washington.

In November 2017 Bensouda asked ICC judges for authorisation to open an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan by the Taliban, Afghan government forces and international forces including US troops.

The court has not yet decided whether to launch a full investigation. However, the US responded preemptively, with Pompeo warning on 15 March that the ICC was “attacking America’s rule of law”. He said he was “announcing a policy of US visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of US personnel”.

“If you’re responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of US personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, you should not assume that you still have, or will get, a visa or that you will permitted to enter the United States,” Pompeo said.