US lifts Trump-imposed sanctions against ICC

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The United States on Friday lifted sanctions against senior officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that imposed by the administration of former President Donald Trump.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that President Joe Biden had revoked an executive order against certain persons of the ICC, ending the threat and imposition of economic sanctions and visa restrictions in connection with the court.

“As a result, the sanctions imposed by the previous administration against ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, the Head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division of the Office of the Prosecutor, have been lifted,” he said.

The Department of State also terminated a separate 2019 policy on visa restrictions on certain ICC personnel, he added. “These decisions reflect our assessment that the measures adopted were inappropriate and ineffective.”

Blinken, however, highlighted the disagreement between Washington and The Hague-based international tribunal.

“We continue to disagree strongly with the ICC’s actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations. We maintain our longstanding objection to the Court’s efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-States Parties such as the United States and Israel,” he noted.

The United States has not ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC and rejected the ICC’s jurisdiction over U.S. persons.

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

Trump last June authorized economic sanctions against ICC officials engaged in an investigation into U.S. personnel, which drew criticism from the international community and some U.S. allies.

The ICC was established when the Rome Statute took effect in 2002. It prosecutes crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.