Alwaght- The US has revoked the visa for the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court over a possible investigation of American troops’ war crimes in Afghanistan, her office said Friday.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda would continue to pursue her duties for The Hague-based court “without fear or favor” despite the ban, her office said in a statement.
The move against Bensouda, a Gambian national, comes weeks after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced restrictions on ICC staff who probe US or allied personnel.
Pompeo said: "If you're responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of US personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, you should not assume that you will still have or get a visa, or that you will be permitted to enter the United States.
“What we can confirm is that the US authorities have revoked the prosecutor’s visa for entry into the US,” the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC said in a statement.
Bensouda’s office said that under the Rome statute governing the ICC — which Washington has declined to join since it was set up in 2002 — she had an “independent and impartial mandate”.
“The prosecutor and her office will continue to undertake that statutory duty with utmost commitment and professionalism, without fear or favor,” it added.
The office said meanwhile, that the US decision was not expected to impact Bensouda if she is travelling to the United Nations in New York where she gives regular briefings to the UN Security Council on investigation.
There was no immediate comment on Bensouda’s visa ban from Washington.
Bensouda asked ICC judges in November 2017 for authorization to open an investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan by the Taliban, Afghan government forces and international forces including US troops.
The prosecution's request said there is information that members of the US military and intelligence agencies "committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period".
US officials have long regarded the Netherlands-based ICC with hostility, arguing that American courts are capable of handling any war crimes allegations against US forces.