'US President Donald Trump has warned the International Criminal Court (ICC) of "swift and vigorous response" if the Hague-based tribunal investigates Americans and Israelis for war crimes.
Trump issued the warning on Friday after ICC judges rejected a request by the court's prosecutor to probe atrocities committed by US forces in Afghanistan.
Trump hailed the unusual ruling as a "major international victory," claiming that the Americans and Israelis should be immune from ICC prosecution.
"Since the creation of the ICC, the United States has consistently declined to join the court because of its broad, unaccountable prosecutorial powers; the threat it poses to American national sovereignty; and other deficiencies that render it illegitimate," he said.
"Any attempt to target American, Israeli, or allied personnel for prosecution will be met with a swift and vigorous response," he added.
Amnesty International denounced the ICC's decision as a "shocking abandonment of victims" that would "weaken the court's already questionable credibility."
Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director at Amnesty International, stressed that the ruling would be seen as a "craven capitulation to Washington's bullying."
"The ICC’s decision today is a shocking abandonment of the victims which will weaken the court’s already questionable credibility." https://t.co/C0K8J8M6ns
— Amnesty International (@amnestyusa) April 12, 2019
Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US would withdraw or revoke visas for ICC staff who prosecute American troops in Afghanistan as well as their allied personnel, including Israelis.
He also warned about potential economic sanctions "if the ICC does not change its course."'
Read more: Trump warns ICC against prosecuting Americans, Israelis for war crimes