The EU’s foreign affairs chief took the opportunity on Tuesday to hit out at the American move to frustrate the work of the International Criminal Court by denying visas to its officials.

Faced with the possibility of investigations into alleged US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the White House last week imposed ICC blacklists. The US has exempted itself from the Court’s jurisdiction.

“[US] sanctions against those involved in the work of the ICC, its staff and their families as well as persons associated with the ICC are unacceptable and unprecedented in scope and content,” EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said.

Last week the International Criminal Court expressed its profound regret at the announcement of further threats and coercive actions, including financial measures, against the Court and its officials… by the Government of the United States.

“The ICC stands firmly by its staff and officials and remains 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.

“These are the latest in a series of unprecedented attacks on the ICC, an independent international judicial institution, as well as on the Rome Statute system of international criminal justice, which reflects the commitment and cooperation of the ICC’s 123 States Parties, representing all regions of the world.

“These attacks constitute an escalation and an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and the Court’s judicial proceedings. They are announced with the declared aim of influencing the actions of ICC officials in the context of the Court’s independent and objective investigations and impartial judicial proceedings.

“An attack on the ICC also represents an attack against the interests of victims of atrocity crimes, for many of whom the Court represents the last hope for justice,” the court said.

PHOTO: the International Criminal Court building in The Hague