US President Donald Trump said in a statement the International Criminal Court investigations ‘threaten to infringe on our national sovereignty’ [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

US President Donald Trump has authorised economic and travel sanctions against workers  at the International Criminal Court directly involved in investigating American troops.

The sanctions also extend to intelligence officials and those of allied nations, including Israel, for possible war crimes in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

A statement from the White House press secretary says the United States has repeatedly rejected the International Criminal Court’s assertions of jurisdiction over United States personnel.

The order would block the financial assets of court employees and bar them and their immediate relatives from entering the United States.

It said the ICC’s actions are an attack on the rights of the American people and threaten to infringe upon their national sovereignty.

While Israel welcomed the move, there were expressions of concern and condemnation from the United Nations, the European Union and human rights groups.

The Hague-based court was created in 2002 to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity and genocide in areas where perpetrators might not otherwise face justice. 

It has 123 state parties that recognise its jurisdiction.