The European Union on Thursday condemned the US’ move to impose sanctions on two officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In a statement, the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called the decision “unacceptable and unprecedented measures that attempt to obstruct the Court’s investigations and judicial proceedings.”
He also urged US authorities to reconsider the decision, and reminded that the ICC should be “able to work independently and impartially, free from outside interference.”
The statement also expressed support for the institution which “plays an essential role in delivering justice to the victims of some of the world’s most horrific crimes.”
The EU top diplomat promised to defend the ICC from “any attempts aimed at obstructing the course of justice and undermining the international system of criminal justice.”
On Wednesday, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo announced sanctions on two ICC members prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, the head of the Court’s Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division for efforts to prosecute American nationals.
The top American diplomat called the court “a thoroughly corrupted and broken institution” and said the US “will not tolerate its illegitimate attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction.”
In March, the ICC unanimously authorized a probe into war crimes in Afghanistan allegedly committed by the US, Afghan, and Taliban forces. The inclusion of US troops in the investigation has drawn the ire of Trump and his top officials.
Operating since 2002, the Hague-based institution is the first and only permanent international tribunal that has the mandate to investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes.