The Trump administration authorized new sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC) in an executive order on Thursday. The executive order comes after the ICC announced investigations of war crimes by United States military personnel in Afghanistan.
Jens David Ohlin, vice dean and professor at Cornell Law School, is an expert on international criminal law and the legality of war time practices. He says that the news of a U.S. investigation will surprise and likely concern members of the ICC.
“The sanctions themselves are not very surprising, given the United States’ longstanding hostility towards the ICC. What’s new, and somewhat disturbing, is the Attorney General William Barr’s vague announcement that the Justice Department is conducting an investigation into the operation of the Court. That is new information and is likely to raise a lot of eyebrows in The Hague.
“Barr has long been accused of weaponizing the investigative powers of the Justice Department. In this case, it appears that he is aiming that weapon not at Trump’s political enemies but at international prosecutors.”