Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said he “deeply regrets” measures announced by the US earlier this week against top officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On Wednesday (2 September), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo imposed sanctions on the ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, as well as the head of the Office of the Prosecutor’s Jurisdiction, Complementarity, and Cooperation Division, Phakiso Mochochoko.
The court, based in The Hague, is currently investigating whether US forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
Set up in 2002, the ICC investigates war crimes and genocide, but the US has never signed the treaty which established it, and Pompeo this week accused the court of "illegitimate attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction".
Minister Coveney said the ICC was “an independent and impartial institution with a key role in the fight against impunity”, and reiterated Ireland’s continued support for the court.
The International Bar Association (IBA) condemned the US moves, with its president, Horacio Bernardes Neto, saying the group was “perplexed” by the decision.
“These sanctions seek to demean the ICC, with the intention to discredit a legitimate court in the eyes of the world. States should advance a strong and coordinated response to protect the work of the court,” he added.
Human rights groups also criticised the US move, with Human Right Watch describing it as “unprecedented”, and saying it showed “an egregious disregard for victims of the world’s worst crimes “.