U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday rebuked the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allowing an appeal of its decision against opening an investigation into possible war crimes in Afghanistan.
Pompeo said the U.S. “remains committed to protecting its personnel from the ICC’s wrong-headed efforts spearheaded by a few grandstanders.”
Judges at the Hague-based court in April rejected investigations into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan since 2003, effectively backing off from a fight with the U.S. government.
The judges said at the time that while there was a reasonable basis to believe crimes took place, the prospect for a successful prosecution was “extremely limited.”
But last month the court said chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda may appeal this decision.
Pompeo said in a statement on Wednesday that the appeals process “is pointless as far as we are concerned.”
The U.S. has consistently objected to any attempts to assert ICC jurisdiction over U.S. personnel, he said.
An investigation by the ICC of U.S. personnel “would be unjustified and unwarranted,” Pompeo added.
The U.S. is not party to the ICC, and thus its citizens are not under the court’s jurisdiction, but Pompeo said the U.S. respects the decision of those nations that have joined the court.
Edited by Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim
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