June 11 (UPI) — The Trump administration Thursday announced new sanctions against the International Criminal Court over investigations of U.S. military and intelligence officers in Afghanistan, claiming Russian influence.
The White House said it was expanding visa sanctions along with economic sanctions against ICC officials, but did not give details. The administration has criticized the court in the past over investigations of alleged war crimes by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, blocking its investigators from coming into the country.
In an executive order, Trump called the ICC a “threat” while declaring a national emergency against the body. The United States does not recognize the authority of the ICC and is not a party to it.
“Any attempt by the ICC to investigate, arrest, detain or prosecute any United States personnel without the consent of the United States 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,” Trump said in the executive order.
In March, judges of the International Criminal Court approved a far-reaching investigation into whether forces of the United States, Afghanistan and the Taliban committed war crimes.
Attorney General Bill Barr accused “foreign powers like Russia” of manipulating the court.
The court’s efforts to look into purported war crimes committed since 2003 began in 2017. The ICC said it received hundreds of submissions for investigations from alleged victims.
The ICC’s pre-trial body at first rejected the request because of a lack of cooperation from the Afghanistan government, the Taliban and the United States.