The International Criminal Court (ICC) has condemned US sanctions against its officials engaged in an investigation into possible war crimes by American forces in Afghanistan. The ICC said in a statement that the US attacks "constitute an escalation and an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and the Court's judicial proceedings", Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

Trump's Sanctions Against ICC

On Thursday, the White House said in a statement that President Donald Trump has authorized economic sanctions against ICC officials "directly engaged with any effort to investigate or prosecute United States personnel without the consent of the US", as well as the expansion of visa restrictions against these officials and their family members.

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Noting that the US sanctions represent "an attack against the interests of victims of atrocity crimes, for many of whom the Court represents the last hope for justice", the ICC vowed it would stand firmly by its staff and remain "unwavering in its commitment to discharging, independently and impartially, the mandate bestowed upon it by the Rome Statute and the States that are party to it".

ICC's Investigation

The ICC in March authorized an investigation into possible war crimes in Afghanistan, including those that may have been committed by the US military and the Central Intelligence Agency, which could lead to the indictment of personnel.

The ICC, which has 123 member states, was established when the Rome Statute took effect in 2002. It prosecutes crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.