US President Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE
US President Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE

Washington — US President Donald Trump, on Thursday, ordered sanctions against any official at the International Criminal Court (ICC) who prosecutes US troops as the tribunal looks at alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

“The ICC’s actions are an attack on the rights of the American people and threaten to infringe upon our national sovereignty,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.

She alleged: “We have strong reason to believe there is corruption and misconduct at the highest levels of the ICC  office of the prosecutor, calling into question the integrity of its investigation into American service members.”

Trump has been tearing down global institutions he sees as hindering his administration’s interests, recently ordering a pullout from the World Health Organisation over its coronavirus response.

The Trump administration has been livid over The Hague-based ICC’s investigation into atrocities in Afghanistan’s long-running war, which could involve US forces.

Last year, the administration revoked the US visa of the court’s chief prosecutor, Gambian-born Fatou Bensouda, to demand that she end the probe. But in March, judges said the investigation could go ahead, overturning an initial rejection of Bensouda’s request.

The US is not a part of the court and under the previous administration of George W Bush actively encouraged countries to shun it.