UNITED NATIONS, Jun 13 (APP):The U.N. human rights office has regretted a set of sanctions authorized by US President Donald Trump against International Criminal Court (ICC) officials investigating whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan, saying the Hague-based court’s independence must be protected.

“The independence of the ICC and its ability to operate without interference must be guaranteed so that it can decide matters without any improper influence, inducement, pressures, threats or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reasons,” Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a virtual news briefing in Geneva on Friday.

“Victims of gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law and their families have the right to redress and the truth,” he added.

“The measures announced impact not only the ICC officials but also impact their family members.”

The White House said in a statement Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump has authorized economic sanctions against ICC officials “directly engaged with any effort to investigate or prosecute United States personnel without the consent of the United States,” as well as the expansion of visa restrictions against these officials and their family members.

The ICC in March authorized an investigation into possible war crimes in Afghanistan, including those that may have been committed by the U.S. military and the Central Intelligence Agency, which could lead to the indictment of U.S. military and intelligence personnel.