'Profound regret': ICC prosecutor on being hit with US sanctions over Afghanistan war crimes probe

'Profound regret': ICC prosecutor on being hit with US sanctions over Afghanistan war crimes probe

A prosecutor from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has told Dailyrater of her "profound regret" after the US slapped her with sanctions.

Earlier this month President Donald Trump authorised economic and travel sanctions against Fatou Bensouda and other ICC workers over their probe into whether US troops and intelligence officials committed war crimes in Afghanistan.

"We express profound regret at the announcement of these further threats and unprecedented coercive actions, including the threat of financial measures against the court and the officials of the court by the government of the United States, not least given that country's longstanding contribution to the field of international criminal justice," ICC prosecutor Bensouda told Dailyrater.

She said the attacks "came with the territory" and should not mean that the ICC's investigations would stop.

"Afghanistan has recently requested the office to defer to investigations that it says it is conducting," added Bensouda.

"So my office is currently closely evaluating this information provided by the Afghan authorities, as is our obligation."

The Hague-based ICC was created in 2002 to prosecute war crimes, crimes of humanity and genocide in countries where authorities cannot or will not bring perpetrators to justice. The US has never been an ICC member.

Earlier this week more than half of the ICC's member states voiced their support for the institution over US sanctions.

The 67 nations, including US allies such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, said in the joint statement that they were reconfirming “our unwavering support for the Court as an independent and impartial judicial institution”.

The participating countries also reiterated their commitment to preserving the court's integrity “undeterred by any measures or threats against the Court, its officials and those cooperating with it".

Listen to the full interview with Bensouda in the video player, above.

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