The European Union on Tuesday stepped up its criticism of Donald Trump’s decision to authorize sanctions against International Criminal Court officials, branding the move “unacceptable” and calling on the U.S. president to reverse course.
“The European Union expresses grave concern about the announced measures and reconfirms its unwavering support for the International Criminal Court,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.
“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.”
Trump last week signed an executive order authorizing the possible imposition of economic sanctions and visa restrictions on ICC employees involved in an investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
In an initial reaction the same day, Borrell said at a press conference that Trump’s move was “a matter of serious concern.” But he said he had to be cautious as he had only just heard the news.
Tuesday’s written statement showed the EU has decided to double down on speaking out about its concerns.
“The European Union remains committed to defending the Court from any outside interference aimed at obstructing the course of justice and undermining the international system of criminal justice,” Borrell said. “We urge the US to reverse its position.”
Trump’s decision was announced a few days before a video meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and EU foreign ministers, led by Borrell, on Monday. That meeting highlighted a range of disagreements between two longstanding allies whose relations have become increasingly strained since Trump took office.