President Trump will announce an executive order on Thursday to authorize sanctions against certain persons directly engaged in any efforts by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Americans without the United States’ consent.
The move comes after an ICC appeals chamber voted in March to allow investigations of U.S. military and intelligence personnel for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and at CIA detention sites following the U.S. invasion in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
A senior administration official said the court is pursuing “politically motivated investigations” that are being pushed forward by an organization of “dubious integrity” and may be the target of “corrupt malign influence by Russia and others.”
“Further, we have reason to believe there is corruption and misconduct at the highest levels of the ICC’s office of prosecutor, calling into question the integrity of this investigation into American personnel,” the official added.
“We are concerned that Russia may be manipulating the ICC by encouraging these allegations against U.S. personnel … in an attempt to subvert the purpose of the ICC.”
The senior administration official argued that the ICC has no jurisdiction to prosecute Americans. The U.S. is not a party to the Rome Statute that created the ICC and has repeatedly rejected the ICC’s assertion of jurisdiction over U.S. personnel, the official said.
“The ICC claims it has a jurisdiction to prosecute individuals, even if their own governments have not recognized, signed, or ratified the Rome Statute,” the official said. “The actions of the ICC threatens to infringe on our national sovereignty.”
The official called the court “unaccountable, ineffective, and out-of-control international bureaucracy that threatens American service members and intelligence officers.”
“The United States will continue to use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by the ICC and tactics involving the use of misinformation … to distort international accountability efforts,” the official said.