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    This file photo taken on November 23, 2015 shows the building of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, The Netherlands

    ICC Vows to Continue 'Independent Work' After Pompeo's Visa Restriction Threats

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    The US is determined not to issue visas to individuals who are behind any International Criminal Court investigation of US personnel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.

    The International Criminal Court responded to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's threats over the investigation into alleged war crimes of US personnel in Afghanistan.

    The official body stated that as "an independent and impartial judicial institution" it will keep on implementing "its independent work, undeterred, in accordance with its mandate and the overarching principle of the rule of law."

    The ICC's response comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that new economic sanctions may follow if the International Criminal Court fails to change its course, adding that new visa restrictions will not terminate Washington's previous measures.

    "I'm announcing a policy of US visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of US personnel," Pompeo said. "This includes persons who take or have taken action to request or further such an investigation. These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis."

    READ MORE: US State Dept Revoked Visas of Over 250 Venezuelans Tied to President Maduro

    The remark comes after Pompeo issued the warning after announcing that the US would impose visa restrictions on individuals linked to the ICC's prospective investigation into alleged war crimes committed by US personnel in Afghanistan.

    Commenting on the issue, Liz Evenson, associate director in the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch, in a written interview with Sputnik said that "the US decision to impose visa restrictions on certain ICC personnel is an outrageous attempt to bully the court’s judges away from scrutiny of the conduct of US personnel."

    "At a time when there are rampant abuses taking place around the globe, it sends a dangerous signal to penalize war crimes investigators just for doing their job," she said.

    "The ICC is not perfect, but it a critical tool to bring justice for serious crimes when national authorities are not able or willing to do so. Efforts to undermine the ICC could put more civilians at risk by suggesting a retreat from accountability for these crimes. We are looking to ICC member countries to speak out clearly to reaffirm their support to the court and to work together to defend the court’s independence and mandate," Liz Evenson pointed out.

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