U.S. Revokes Entry Visa for ICC Prosecutor over Afghanistan Row

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Saturday, April 13, 2019
Alex Psilakis and Bruce Zagaris

On March 15, 2019, the IELR Blog detailed how the Trump administration pledged to block the entry of International Criminal Court (ICC) officials seeking to investigate U.S. personnel. On April 5, the Trump administration kept their word, revoking the visa of Public Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. “We can confirm that the U.S. authorities have revoked the prosecutor’s visa for entry into the U.S.,” Bensouda’s office wrote. Since 2017, Bensouda, alongside her colleagues at the ICC, have been investigating alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. The investigation has reviewed allegations against all parties, including Afghan security forces and the Taliban, as well as U.S. personnel. The investigation may even expand to consider CIA activity within Afghan detention centers. A 2017 report from the Prosecutor’s office, which requested permission to launch the aforementioned investigation, made this clear, noting, “The information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that members of the United States of America (“US”) armed forces and members of the Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) 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.”