U.S. sanctions against ICC staff "direct attack" on judicial independence: UN experts

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 26, 2020
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GENEVA, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government's decision to sanction staff of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a direct attack on the institution's judicial independence and could undermine victims' access to justice, a group of UN human rights experts said Thursday.

In a media statement, the dozen or so experts said that the use of unilateral sanctions against international judges and international civil servants constitutes a clear violation not only of their privileges and immunities, but also of a broad spectrum of rights of the targeted individuals.

"These threats constitute improper interference with the independence of the ICC and could also have potential adverse impacts on human rights defenders, civil society organizations and victims' representatives," the statement said.

On June 11, U.S. President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13928 on Blocking Property of Certain Persons Associated with the International Criminal Court.

The U.S. government declared it would revoke or deny visas to members of the ICC involved in investigations against US troops in Afghanistan or elsewhere, and sanction any person "directly engaged in any effort by the ICC to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute any United States personnel without the consent of the United States."

The move is in response to the ICC Appeals Chamber's decision in March, which authorized a probe of alleged war crimes in Afghanistan committed by all sides in the conflict, including American forces.

Experts signing Thursday's media statement include Diego Garcia-Sayan, UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, and Alena Douhan, UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. Enditem

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