Pompeo: ‘Misinformation’ behind international court’s probe of US actions in Afghanistan

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of being under the influence of “misinformation” after it announced an investigation into U.S. actions in Afghanistan.

“We have evidence suggesting that there have been efforts to provide misinformation to the courts by foreign parties,” Pompeo said during a briefing with reporters at the State Department.

The accusation by the United States’ top diplomat follows the announcement by the ICC that it will launch a probe into possible war crimes committed In Afghanistan since the U.S. invasion in 2003, targeting actions taken by American forces in the region.

Pompeo didn’t elaborate on the evidence but said the State Department was preparing a response “in a couple of weeks” and will work to protect American citizens from being brought before the court.

“We’re going to take all the appropriate actions to ensure that American citizens are not hauled before this political body to settle a political vendetta,” Pompeo said.

The ICC on Thursday said it has a reasonable basis to believe that crimes that fall under its jurisdiction occurred in Afghanistan and warrant an investigation, opening up U.S. armed forces and American personnel operating in the region over the nearly two-decade war to being called before the court.

The U.S. is not a party to the ICC, and the Trump administration has taken a hard line against it for efforts to investigate American service members.

In March of last year, the State Department imposed visa restrictions on ICC personnel involved in investigations against Americans and accused the body of acting in political interests over independent justice.

On Thursday, Pompeo further criticized the court and called the new move “reckless” for occurring on the heels of a peace agreement signed between the U.S., Afghan government and Taliban in Qatar last week.

“This is a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution masquerading as a legal body,” he said. “It’s just all the more reckless of this ruling to come just days after the United States signed the historic peace deal on Afghanistan, which is the best chance for peace in a generation.”

Tags Afghanistan ICC International Criminal Court Mike Pompeo War crimes War in Afghanistan
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