International court says it is undeterred after US sanctions threat

International court says it is undeterred after US sanctions threat

The entrance of the ICC is seen in The Hague
FILE PHOTO: The entrance of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is seen in The Hague, Netherlands, March 3, 2011. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen/File Photo

THE HAGUE: The International Criminal Court said on Tuesday (Sep 11) it would "continue to do its work undeterred" a day after US National Security Adviser John Bolton threatened sanctions if the tribunal investigated US activities in Afghanistan.

The Hague-based court said it was an independent and impartial institution with the backing of 123 countries.

"The ICC, as a court of law, will continue to do its work undeterred, in accordance with those principles and the overarching idea of the rule of law," it said in a statement.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said last year there was a “reasonable basis to believe” war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed in Afghanistan and that all sides in the conflict would be examined, including members of the US armed forces and Central Intelligence Agency.

Bolton said on Monday that if such an investigation was launched, the Trump administration would consider banning ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, sanctioning funds they have there and prosecuting them in US courts.

The United States did not ratify the Rome treaty that established the ICC during the presidency of Republican George W Bush. Instead, it adopted the American Services-Members' Protection Act, nicknamed the Hague Invasion Act because it authorised the use of any means necessary to free US personnel held by the court.

France, a major advocate of the ICC, said the institution should be left to do its work without hindrance.

"France, with its European partners, supports the International Criminal Court, both in its budgetary contribution and in its cooperation with it," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said in a statement.

"The court must be able to act and exercise its prerogatives without hindrance, independently and impartially, within the legal framework defined by the Rome Statute," it said.

Source: Reuters

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