International Criminal Court officials sanctioned by US
The US has imposed sanctions on senior officials in the International Criminal Court (ICC), including chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the court of “illegitimate attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction”.
The Hague-based ICC is currently investigating whether US forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
The US has criticised the court since its foundation and is one of a dozen states which have not signed up.
President Donald Trump issued an executive order in June, which allows the US to block the assets of ICC employees and stop them entering the country..
Addressing reporters on Wednesday, Mr Pompeo said Ms Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, the head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division, were to be sanctioned under this order.
Dismissing the ICC as a “thoroughly broken and corrupted institution”, he said those who continued to “materially support those individuals risk exposure to sanctions as well”.
The US state department has also restricted the issuance of visas for ICC staff involved in “efforts to investigate US personnel”.
The ICC began investigating alleged war crimes committed by the US and others in the Afghan conflict earlier this year.
At the time, Mr Pompeo vowed to protect Americans from the probe, calling it “a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable, political institution masquerading as a legal body”.
A 2016 report from the ICC said there was a reasonable basis to believe the US military had committed torture at secret detention sites operated by the CIA.
The actions of the Taliban, the Afghan government and US troops since May 2003 are expected to be examined by the court.
Afghanistan is a member of the court, but officials there have also expressed opposition to the inquiry.