US revokes visa for International Court prosecutor Bensouda

Legal Compliance

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Friday that her U.S. visa has been revoked, in what appears to a crackdown on the global tribunal by the Trump administration.

In a statement confirming the revocation, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office stressed that she “has an independent and impartial mandate” under the court’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute.

“The Prosecutor and her office will continue to undertake that statutory duty with utmost commitment and professionalism, without fear or favor,” the statement said.

Bensouda’s office said the revocation of her visa shouldn’t affect her travel to the U.S. for meetings, including regular briefings at the U.N. Security Council. The U.S. has never been a member of the ICC, a court of last resort that prosecutes grave crimes only when other nations are unwilling or unable to bring suspects to justice.

Bensouda is expected to brief the U.N. Security Council next month on her investigations in Libya.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “We expect the United States to live up to the agreement to allow for the travel of ICC staff members to do their work here at the United Nations.”

The State Department confirmed the measure against Bensouda.

“In this case, where Prosecutor Bensouda has publicly stated that her visa has been revoked, we confirm that the Prosecutor’s visa to the United States has been revoked,” the department said.

It declined to discuss other cases but said “the United States will take the necessary steps to protect its sovereignty and to protect our people from unjust investigation and prosecution by the International Criminal Court.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that Washington would revoke or deny visas to ICC staff seeking to investigate alleged war crimes and other abuses committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere and may do the same with those who seek action against Israel.

The ICC prosecutor has a pending request to look into possible war crimes in Afghanistan that may involve Americans. The Palestinians have also asked the court to bring cases against Israel.

Pompeo said in March that his move was necessary to prevent the court from infringing on U.S. sovereignty by prosecuting American forces or allies for torture or other war crimes.

Bensouda asked last year to open an investigation into allegations of war crimes committed by Afghan national security forces, Taliban and Haqqani network militants, as well as U.S. forces and intelligence officials in Afghanistan since May 2003.

The request says there’s information that members of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period.”

The United States has never been a member of the Hague-based court, even though the Clinton administration in 2000 signed the Rome Statute that created it. However, he had reservations about the scope of the court’s jurisdiction and never submitted it for ratification to the Senate.

Related listings

  • Ex-Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock to appear in court in Chicago

    Ex-Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock to appear in court in Chicago

    Legal Compliance 03/07/2019

    Former Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock is scheduled to appear in court for the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court declined to get involved in his corruption case.A federal judge in Chicago set a Wednesday hearing for the 37-year-old, who once was a r...

  • French court hits Swiss bank UBS with $5.1 billion penalty

    French court hits Swiss bank UBS with $5.1 billion penalty

    Legal Compliance 02/19/2019

    A French court ordered Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS, to pay 4.5 billion euros ($5.1 billion) in fines and damages for helping wealthy French clients evade tax authorities, sending a stern warning to tax dodgers and the banks that aid them.Th...

  • WVa AG's help sought in Supreme Court impeachment appeal

    WVa AG's help sought in Supreme Court impeachment appeal

    Legal Compliance 01/03/2019

    Three months after a ruling halted the impeachment process involving most of West Virginia's Supreme Court justices, the state Senate president is seeking a second opinion.Senate President Mitch Carmichael said Friday at the annual Legislative Lookah...

Legal groups argue in court against Trump asylum ban

Legal groups suing the Trump administration over its ban on asylum for anyone who illegally crosses the U.S.-Mexico border have argued their case before a federal judge in San Francisco. U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar did not immediately rule Monday on the groups' request to stop the administration from enforcing the ban.

President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on Nov. 9 that says anyone who crossed the southern border would be ineligible for asylum. That would potentially make it harder for thousands of people who enter the U.S. to avoid deportation.

Trump issued the proclamation in response to the caravans of migrants that have started to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border. The American Civil Liberties Union quickly sued, saying U.S. law makes clear that people can seek asylum regardless of how they enter the country.