I.C.C. President Responds to President Trump’s Sanctions

President Trump is retaliating against the International Criminal Court, which is investigating whether U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan. The Trump administration has announced sanctions against the court officials leading the inquiry. Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji heads up the I.C.C. and is calling America’s attack on the court troubling and disappointing.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you, just for you first reaction, and if you can tell me what you, as head of the court, plan to do, if anything, about these sanctions that are being threatened against members of the ICC.

CHILE EBOE-OSUJI, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: Thank you very much, Christiane, for having me on your program. It’s an honor to be here. We plan to do our work as a court of law. That is what we have said we will do and that is what we will continue to do. There are 123 countries that support the court who are members of it and who fund what the court does. And the court is doing precisely what they’ve given all the mandates to do. But only 123 countries, even more states or people in state capacity who support what we do. The Holy Sea, for example. We have its blessing, so to speak. There are members of the human rights community, faith-based groups as well. You know, recently you might have seen a joint statement coordinated by the Human Rights Watch condemning what happened. You’ll see an array of organizations that are supporting us, from Jewish —

AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me ask you —

EBOE-OSUJI: — organizations, some Catholic organizations, many people. There’s an outpouring of support for us, and we intend to stay the course and do the cause the justice that we were created to pursue.

AMANPOUR: OK. OK. So, let’s try to unpick a little bit of that. And let me first quote your chief prosecutor who said the following in a 2017 report. The information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that members of U.S. Armed Forces and members of the CIA committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period. Can you tell us, please, what precisely this case is and what is the information available that the chief prosecutor says?

EBOE-OSUJI: Now, as a judge in the courts, I cannot comment on the specifics of that until the evidence comes up before us for adjudication. What I can say, however, is that the court has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute what happened in a member state. And Afghanistan — in the territory of a member state, and Afghanistan is a member state.

About This Episode EXPAND

Kay Bailey Hutchison discusses President Trump’s decision to pull nearly 10,000 troops out of Germany. Chile Eboe-Osuji responds to the president’s sanctions against International Criminal Court officials. Rev. Robert Schenck reflects on the president’s relationship to white evangelical voters. Amos Nachoum and Yonatan Nir discuss the new documentary “Picture of His Life.”