The Trump administration authorized sanctions against International Criminal Court officials who are investigating alleged war crimes against the United States and its allies, including Israel.
The administration also authorized visa restrictions on Thursday against ICC officials and their family members.
The ICC, which U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday called “a kangaroo court,” is investigating whether war crimes have been committed by the United States in Afghanistan and by Israel during the 2014 summer war with Gaza (the Israel Defense Forces’ “Operation Protective Edge”), in addition to alleged crimes in the West Bank’s disputed territories.
“Despite repeated calls by the United States and our allies to reform, the International Criminal Court has taken no action to reform itself and continues to pursue politically-motivated investigations against us and our allies, including Israel,” said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a statement.
Neither the United States nor Israel is a member of the court in The Hague.
“Given Israel’s robust, civilian and military legal system and strong track record of investigating and prosecuting wrongdoing by military personnel, it’s clear the ICC is only putting Israel in its crosshairs for nakedly political purposes,” said Pompeo. “It’s a mockery of justice.”
Israeli politician Ayelet Shaked of the Yamina Party applauded the U.S. move.
“The International Criminal Court is being misused by the Palestinians and others to pursue political campaigns against democracies, while distorting international law,” she tweeted. “We congratulate President @realDonaldTrump on his important decision to sanction the @IntlCrimCourt.”