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June 12, 2020

ABA President Judy Perry Martinez statement Re: U.S. sanctions of International Criminal Court personnel

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2020 – The American Bar Association is deeply disturbed by the Trump administration’s escalating attacks on the International Criminal Court (ICC), the world’s only permanent international tribunal established to ensure accountability and prevent impunity for perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other Cabinet members on Thursday announced an executive order authorizing the imposition of economic sanctions and other punitive measures targeting ICC officers, personnel and others. These measures are in response to investigations of actions allegedly committed by U.S. personnel in Afghanistan (and investigations of U.S. allies more broadly) by the ICC prosecutor. As Secretary Pompeo has acknowledged, the U.S. is able to conduct its own investigations of such actions which, if carried out, would effectively eliminate ICC jurisdiction. But to date the U.S. has not done so.

The ABA therefore renews its longstanding call that the U.S. conduct and complete its own thorough investigation and prosecution of any atrocity crimes committed by U.S. officials and personnel and, in so doing, exercise U.S. sovereignty. What’s more, the ABA calls upon the U.S. government to refrain from attacks on the ICC and its personnel and respect its independence.

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