LIVE: Mike Pompeo, Mark Esper, William Barr, O’Brien maintain state dept briefing | NTD

published on July 3, 2020

good morning everyone thank you for

joining me today two days in a row and

thanks to secretary ask for attorney

general bar and ambassador a national

security by zero Brian for being with me

on this important occasion as many of

you know I have an important affection

for our servicemen and women I'm the

veteran myself and here's a scenario

that I think about a lot

imagine American soldier sailor Airman

marine or intelligence officers on leave

with his or her family maybe on a beach

in Europe and over the course of two

decades or more this soldier honorably

defended America and on by province and

khandha heart taking down terrorists

then suddenly that vacation turns into a

nightmare the European countries

National Police takes that soldier into

custody detaining him or her on

politically motivated charges a prison

sentence abroad is a distinct

possibility a spouse lumbers many of you

might recall back in November of 2017

the courts office of the prosecutor

announced its intention to investigate

our brave warriors for alleged crimes

arising from counterterrorism missions

in Afghanistan it wasn't a prosecution

of justice it was a persecution of

Americans the ICC cannot subject

Americans to arrest prosecution in jail

the us is not a party to the Rome

Statute that created the ICC and even if

a prosecution were to proceed it would

make a mockery of due process there's no

requirement for unanimity for a

conviction

the prosecution can rely on hearsay to

obtain a conviction there's no real

guarantee of a speedy trial instead of

facing a jury of one's peers it's a

panel of judges who aren't subject to

any American accountability we have

responded anyway and they the way a

responsible nation must by condemning

the investigation by suspending

cooperation with the court and denying

visas to those

most directly responsible for going

after our personnel we welcomed growing

criticism and calls to reform the court

from countries like the UK Germany and

Japan for time it looked like the IC

might do the right thing and kill the

investigation but last spring the

pre-trial chamber unanimously rejected

the prosecutors request to open the

investigation but unfortunately then in

the spring in March the appeals chamber

overturned that sound judgment and gave

a green light to the current

investigation effectively eliminating

constraints on the prosecutor's office

ability to launch new investigations of

Americans in the future we cannot we

will not stand by as our people are

threatened by a kangaroo court and

indeed I have a message to many close

allies around the world your people

could be next

especially those from NATO countries who

fought terrorism in Afghanistan right

alongside of us

we're also gravely concerned about the

threat the Corps poses to Israel the ICC

is already threatening Israel with an

investigation of so-called war crimes

committed by its forces and personnel in

the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip

given Israel's robust civilian and

military legal system and strong track

record of investigating prosecuting

wrongdoing by military personnel it's

clear the ICC is only putting Israel in

its crosshairs for nakedly political

purposes it's a mockery of justice more

than 300 members of Congress Republicans

and Democrats alike recently sent me

letters asking at the United States

support Israel in the face of the ICC's

lawless politicized attacks that's what

the us is dead said I'm doing and with

good reason

there trusted and out and wonderful

partner and a buttress of American

security if a road court can intimidate

our friend or any other allied into

abrogating its right to self-defense

that puts Americans at risk as well

absent corrective action we can expect

the ICT will continue its present

reckless course I've laid out the courts

fatal process flaws and the danger it

poses to Americans and our allies but we

also oppose the court because it's

grossly ineffective and corrupt in 18

years of operation the court staff by

nearly a thousand people has secured

only four convictions

major crimes to cite spending well over

a billion dollars nonetheless the judges

of the ICC recently brought suit against

their own Court seeking a 26 percent pay

raise from their 180,000 euro tax-free

annual salary that's about a quarter

million dollars you ask give or take

this record of botched prosecutions and

poor judgment casts grave doubt on the

courts ability to function at the most

basic level and demonstrates the highly

politicized nature of this institution

which brings me to the reason we're all

here today the Trump administration is

taking the following actions

first we're authorizing the imposition

of economic sanctions against ICC

officials directly engaged in ICC

efforts to investigate US personnel or

allied personnel against that allied

state's consent and against others who

material of support such officials

activities designations will be made on

a case-by-case basis against specific

individuals or entities and second the

United States is expanding visa

restrictions for officials directly

engaged in those same investigations for

extending and expanding these

restrictions included their family

members it gives us no joy to punish

them but we cannot allow ICC officials

and their families to come to the United

States to shop travel and otherwise

enjoy American freedoms as the same

officials think to prosecute though

defender of those very freedoms I'll

close by saying this never forget the

American commitment to real justice and

accountability from the Nuremberg and

Tokyo trials after World War two to the

more recent Yugoslavia and Rwanda

Tribunal's the United States has always

sought to uphold good and punish evil

under international law we will continue

to do so when our own people do wrong we

lawfully punish those individuals as

whereas they are who tarnish the

reputation of our great US military and

our intelligence services we hold our

own accountable better than the IC has

done for the worst perpetrators of mass

criminal atrocities today we stand for

moral clarity we stand for sovereignty

we stand for our citizens ring and I

want to thank each of you for being up

here with me today and I'll turn the

podium over to secretary

good well thank you

secretary pom Palin and thank you really

for your genuine concern for our

servicemembers thank you for that good

morning everyone and thank you for being

here for this important announcement

today the president took necessary and

decisive action with an executive order

that will protect American citizens and

our nation's sovereignty and defend our

national security interests and those of

our allies the International Criminal

Court's efforts to investigate and

prosecute Americans are inconsistent

with fundamental principles of

international law and the practice of

international courts as the executive

order notes the United States is not a

party to the Rome Statute that created

the ICC nor have we ever accepted its

jurisdiction over our personnel that is

why our nation and this administration

will not allow American citizens who

have served our country to be subjected

to illegitimate investigations instead

we expect information about alleged

misconduct by our people to be turned

over to US authorities so that we can

take the appropriate action as we have

consistently done so in the past the

United States maintains the sovereign

right and obligation to properly

investigate and address any of our

personnel alleged violations of the laws

of war we have a proven record of doing

just that through an American justice

system that is eminently capable of

handling each cases this includes

investigating and prosecuting the

alleged abuse of detainees or any other

misconduct ultimately our justice system

ensures that our people are held to

account under the United States

Constitution not the International

Criminal Court or other overreaching

intergovernmental bodies moreover there

is no other force more disciplined and

committed to compliance with the laws of

war than the United States military

which has made lasting contributions to

the cause of justice and accountability

and armed conflict for example our

military led prosecutions in historic

international military tribunals

including at Nuremberg nürnberg as

Secretary Pompeo mentioned in addition

to providing critical support to the

International Criminal Tribunal for the

former Yugoslavia we have consistently

provided training on the rule of law and

given related assistance to scores of

partners and allies around the globe

additionally since our founding the

United States military has fought to

liberate to the oppressed and defeat the

enemies of justice from Tripoli to

Normandy and from Korea to Kandahar in

fact nearly 800,000 United States troops

have served in Afghanistan over the past

19 years more than 20,000 of them were

wounded in combat and regrettably nearly

2000 Americans brave Americans laid down

their lives to stop terrorism to protect

us and allied citizens including those

in The Hague and to give the Afghan

people a chance at a better life we will

not allow the unjust treatment of these

or any other American personnel who have

dedicated themselves to the cause of

justice security and opportunity for all

today our servicemembers remain on the

front lines of the fight against

terrorists war criminals and

perpetrators of genocide such as Isis

proud of the work the United States

military conducts every day to protect

human rights safeguard Liberty and

uphold the international rules-based

order that is why the department defense

fully supports the president's executive

order and will take every action to

defend our servicemembers rest assured

that the men and women of the United

States Armed Forces

will never appear before the ICC and nor

will they ever be subjected to the

judgments of unaccountable international

bodies in short I like to thank the

president for sending a clear message to

the international community that we will

always protect Americans no matter where

they serve from harassment abuse and

overreach by organizations outside of

our own justice system I'd also like to

thank my colleagues here today who play

an instrumental role in that effort

together we once again call on the ICC

to respect international law and

American sovereignty we also ask States

Parties to the Rome Statute to ensure

the ICC respects our decision and we

reaffirm that the United States will

continue to uphold the rule of law to

honor our commitments and to defend our

core values thank you I'll be followed

by attorney general Barb's

well thank you mark and secretary Pompeo

and not only their a great cabinet

secretaries they were soldiers and great

Americans and I'm privileged to be here

to join them and Attorney General far as

my colleagues made clear as a general

bar will make clear we are here today to

defend American sovereignty the American

people who serve our great nation the

ICC's effort to target American

servicemen and women and other public

servants are unfounded illegitimate and

make a mockery of justice the reasons

why are clear first and foremost the

United States did not ratify the statute

of Rome that founded the ICC and

successive administrations have stood by

that decision as a result the United

States and citizens are not and never

have been subject to ICC jurisdiction

second as Secretary Pompeo laid out in

detail the ICC is a failed institution

despite repeated calls for reform former

allies in the United Kingdom Japan

Germany and other countries the court is

ineffective unaccountable and is a

politically motivated bureaucracy to

make matters worse this specific

investigation of American servicemen and

women in Afghanistan we have every

reason to believe our adversaries are

manipulating the ICC by encouraging

these allegations these tactics

represent a blatant attempt to subvert

justice and the mission of the ICC

further we know that it there is

corruption and misconduct at the highest

levels of the ICC and in the office of

the prosecutor third the United States

holds the men and women of our armed

forces to the highest legal and ethical

standards and in the rare cases where

they violate those laws and norms they

are held to account by military and

civilian courts in this country I was a

Jag officer in the army and I can tell

you the United States government

military justice systems are far more

effective at holding Americans

accountable than the IC ICC ever has

been or ever will be and we will never

allow our American soldiers sailors

airmen a Marine

to fall under the jurisdiction of that a

court of that purported Court we do not

need a corrupt and politicized

international body to second-guess our

system of military justice or our system

of civilian justice for soldiers sailors

airmen Marines who have left the service

and and and may be brought before a

court the men and women who serve this

nation are accountable to the

Constitution to which they swore an oath

to their commander and deef and to the

institution established by the American

people and to no one else we will not

put them our soldiers sailors airmen

Marines Coast Guard men and others at

the mercy of any corrupt international

organization nor will we stand by as

their persecuted by those who are in

reality seeking to damage our country I

witnessed the signing of the executive

order President Trump yesterday the

president has no higher priority than

protecting the American people and as

this executive order makes clear he will

do what it takes to defend our

sovereignty and the men and women who

serve and sacrifice for this nation

thank you very much John Barr

thank you I'm pleased to join my

colleagues today in support of the

president's action against the

International Criminal Court the ICC's

recent decision to authorize an

investigation into the conduct of US

personnel who were fighting to defeat

terrorists in Afghanistan and bring

peace and prosperity to the Afghan

people validates our long-standing

concerns about the ICC this institution

has become in fact this little more than

a political tool employed by

unaccountable international elites these

people wield this tool to manipulate and

undercut the foreign policies of a

democratically accountable sovereign

nation and other nations including the

United States the United States as has

been mentioned has never consented to

ICC jurisdiction worse yet we are

concerned that foreign powers like

Russia are also manipulating the ICC

pursuit of their own agenda

the measures announced today are an

important first step in holding the ICC

accountable for exceeding its mandate

and violating the sovereignty of the

United States the US government has

reason to doubt the honesty of the ICC

the Department of Justice has received

substantial credible information that

raises serious concerns about long

history of financial corruption and

malfeasance at the highest levels of the

office of the prosecutor this

information calls into question the

integrity of the ICC's investigations

this includes information going back

many years about multiple matters

including recent matters and it has in

our view may well have a bearing on the

current investigation announced by the

ICC

the Department of Justice together with

partners across the United States

government is investigating and we are

committed to uncovering and if possible

holding people accountable for their

wrongdoing any wrongdoing that we may

find the executive actions announced

here will ensure that those who assist

the ICC's politically-motivated

investigation of American servicemembers

and intelligence officers without the

United States's consent will suffer

serious consequences

the Department of Justice fully supports

these measures and will vigorously

enforce the sanctions imposed today

under the executive order to the fullest

extent of the law thank you

you

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