In December, the International Court announced that there is sufficient evidence to investigate Israeli officials and military personnel for war crimes committed during the 2014 Gaza War. The probe could lead to international arrest warrants against high-ranking Israeli officials.

The United States has coordinated sanctions against the International Court together with Israel, that’s according to Barak Ravid, diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s Channel 13. According to the journalist, who cited local officials, the plan to impose sanctions against the organisation was discussed between the two sides during the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in May. Both sides kept the issue low profile and it wasn’t mentioned during the briefings before and after the US top diplomat arrived in the country.

During Pompeo’s visit, Israel’s Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz, who is in charge of the team that works on countering the investigation of Israel for war crimes, urged the US secretary of state to move forward with the sanctions against the organization. Ravid claims that in the past weeks, both countries have continued to coordinate on the issue, and US officials notified Israel in advance about the content and timing of the sanctions against the International Court.

The Trump administration’s decision to authorize sanctions against the International Court comes in response to the organization's decision to open an investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by the US and its allies in Afghanistan, where Washington has been fighting its War on Terror since 2001. However, when announcing the measure, Secretary of State Pompeo noted that it also wants to defend Israel and that the organization’s probe into war crimes allegedly committed by Israel was a contributing factor.

US Attack on Int'l Court Enables Its Military to Escape Accountability for War Crimes, Analysts

Donald Trump has empowered economic sanctions against International Court officials who are engaged in investigating or prosecuting American personnel. US political and military observers have explained why the White House is up in arms about the body which is seeking to bring alleged war criminals to justice.

The US president's decision to impose sanctions against representatives of the international body headquartered in the Netherlands came in response to the International Court inquiry into allegations of war crimes by American military and intelligence servicemen as well as Afghan armed forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The investigation, which began in March, also focuses on reports of torture at CIA secret prisons in Poland, Romania, and Lithuania between 2003 and 2004.

'Victims of US Invasions Should Step Forward'

Justifying its decision to sanction ICC figures, the Trump administration has put forward an assumption that the entity is "grossly ineffective and corrupt". Besides, from the juridical viewpoint the US cannot be subjected to ICC scrutiny as Washington has never consented to the organisation's founding document, the Rome Statute, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued at a Thursday press conference.

"The United States claim that the international criminal court is corrupt and would be used for politically motivated prosecutions of US and allied military personnel, is a feeble attempt to slander an international organisation dedicated to human rights and protecting life and sovereignty of nations", suggests Scott Bennett, former US Army officer and counterterrorism analyst.

He notes that the White House's recent initiative enables the country's military industrial complex to proceed with its overseas wars while escaping all moral accountability for its crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. 

Bennett calls upon nations "who have suffered under the boot of the US military" to immediately file legal action for war crimes against the US "for illegally invading their countries". In addition to that, they should petition the UN to sanction economically every US person and businesses involved in the atrocities. He adds that the international body should also charge criminally the US politicians involved in overseas invasions, including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and others.

"Only by an international body dedicated to stopping countries from invading others and engaging and economic and information warfare will the US be prevented from repeating these terrible crimes against humanity", he believes.

'One Law for Me, Another for Thee'

Daniel Lazare, an American journalist and author, shares Bennett's concerns: according to him, the US is exercising an approach which can be described by saying "one law for me, another for thee".

"Since the 1970s at least, the US has used human rights as a weapon with which to further its hegemonic goals", Lazare recollects. "Simultaneously, it has opposed any and all efforts to use the issue in ways that may in any respect go counter to US imperial ambitions".

It appears that "US hegemony represents the supreme good in US eyes", he notes, explaining that therefore, "torture and the like are permissible as long as they advance what Washington regards as the ultimate human aspiration, which is total and complete American domination".

Karen U. Kwiatkowski, a retired US Air Force lieutenant colonel, agrees with the observers: "When the US empire, now in an obvious contraction and possible irreversible decline, is criticised, or faced negative publicity, it responds by attacking and delegitimizing the agency or source of the information", she says.

According to her, US foreign policy has become a "disaster", especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when Washington emerged as the sole hegemon. Still, the American policy-makers are well aware of the US foreign strategy flaws and though not being proud of the outcome "see actual exposure of the details of those many failures as almost an existential attack on their life's work".

Meanwhile, the International Court condemned Washington's sanctions order on Thursday calling the move "unprecedented" and accusing the Trump administration of "interfer[ing] with the rule of law and the Court's judicial proceedings".

"An attack on the International Court 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 body's statement released on 11 June says. "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".

The US invasion of Afghanistan began in 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks and has become the longest military campaign in US history. According to some estimates, the war has claimed the lives of 157,000 people since 2001 with 43,000 civilian fatalities.

#Afghanistan: Over 10,000 casualties in 2019 & for 6th year in a row. “Almost no civilian has escaped being personally affected in some way by the ongoing violence" – @UNAMAnews Tadamichi Yamamoto. Peace is long overdue, civilians must be protected ???? https://t.co/Nw4Aw1n28c pic.twitter.com/DcHtOP4RAn

— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) February 22, 2020

​However, according to the new data released by the United Nations' Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in February 2020, the total number of civilian casualties only between 2009 and 2019 surpassed 100,000.