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April 09, 2019

Statement of ABA President Bob Carlson Re: Restricting International Criminal Court officials’ visas

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2019 -- The American Bar Association is concerned over the policy announced last month by the United States government to restrict visas for certain officials of the International Criminal Court, a policy implemented last week by revoking the ICC Prosecutor’s visa.

Since 1978, the ABA has supported the creation of a permanent international criminal tribunal to eliminate impunity for perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The ABA participated in the negotiations that led to the creation of the ICC and its existence has strengthened the expectation of justice held by victims and states alike.

In the United States, the independence and impartiality of our justice system is foundational to our democracy and commitment to the rule of law. Although the United States is not a member of the ICC, barring the travel of legal professionals because of their work on behalf of this international tribunal sends the wrong message about the United States’ commitment to those same principles in the pursuit of international justice and accountability.

The ABA urges the State Department to immediately reverse this policy decision and to refrain from taking actions against legal professionals based solely on their work on behalf of the ICC.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.