March 15, 2019

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced today that the United States will revoke or deny visas to International Criminal Court personnel who attempt to investigate or prosecute alleged abuses committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

The American Civil Liberties Union currently represents Khaled El Masri, Suleiman Salim, and Mohamed Ben Soud — all of whom were detained and tortured in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2008 — before the ICC as part of its investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed over the course of the armed conflict in Afghanistan since May 2003.

Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, issued the following statement in response:

“This is an unprecedented attempt to skirt international accountability for well-documented war crimes that haunt our clients to this day. It reeks of the very totalitarian practices that are characteristic of the worst human rights abusers, and is a blatant effort to intimidate and retaliate against judges, prosecutors, and advocates seeking justice for victims of serious human rights abuses. We won’t rest until we get to the bottom of this, and are considering options on behalf of those potentially impacted by this misguided and dangerous policy.”

The ACLU last year filed a FOIA request demanding the State Department and DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel turn over all documents disclosing the legal basis for its threats to prosecute and sanction ICC judges and prosecutors.

Additional information about the FOIA request can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/blog/human-rights/human-rights-and-national-security/trump-administration-threatens-international.

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