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Open Society Condemns Trump Administration for Undermining International Rule of Law

NEW YORK—On Thursday, the Trump administration authorized economic and travel sanctions against officials of the International Criminal Court who are engaged with any effort to “investigate or prosecute United States personnel without the consent of the United States.”

The expansive executive order extends visa restrictions against court officials and their families, and it even declares a “national emergency”—a problematic overreach of executive authority that is deeply contrary to the spirit of the law. In its long-running effort to diminish the role of the International Criminal Court, the Trump administration already has wrongly revoked the visa of the court’s top prosecutor and other court officials.  

In response, the Open Society Foundations have issued the following statement: 

“It has never been so clear that we need to hold U.S. government officials accountable for their actions. Today’s economic sanctions against the International Criminal Court represent an attack on the institutions that offer hope when governments fail to provide that accountability—as well as a stunning betrayal of some of the best traditions of U.S. foreign policy,” said Sarah Margon, director of U.S. foreign policy at the Open Society Foundations. 

James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, said, “Even in the grim context of the Trump administration’s broader attack on multilateral cooperation, the U.S. government’s actions are outrageous. They constitute an abuse of power aimed at intimidating international civil servants, their family members, and those who seek or provide assistance in pursuing justice for the victims of serious crimes.”

Margon added, “The United States has in many past situations been a leader in supporting the international rule of law. We’ve now got a White House that goes after those who investigate allegations of war crimes instead of the war criminals themselves.”

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