U.S. LIFTS TRUMP'S SANCTIONS VS ICC PROSECUTOR, COURT OFFICIAL
The United States on Friday (Saturday, April 3, 2021, in Manila) lifted sanctions on International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that drew international criticism after they were imposed by defeated ex-President Donald Trump, David Brunnstrom and Daphne Psaledakis reported for Reuters.
The move, announced by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, lifts the sanctions imposed on Bensouda over her investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
It also removes Phakiso Mochochoko, head of the ICC’s Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division, from the Specially Designated Nationals list.
In a statement, Blinken said the State Department had also terminated a separate 2019 policy on visa restrictions on certain ICC personnel and added: “These decisions reflect our assessment that the measures adopted were inappropriate and ineffective.”
Blinken said Washington was taking the step even though it continued “to disagree strongly with the ICC’s actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations” and to object to ICC “efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-States Parties such as the US and Israel.”
“We believe, however, that our concerns about these cases would be better addressed through engagement with all stakeholders in the ICC process rather than through the imposition of sanctions,” his statement said.
Blinken said Washington was encouraged that a broad range of reforms were being considered to help the ICC “prioritize its resources and to achieve its core mission of serving as a court of last resort in punishing and deterring atrocity crimes.” A spokesman for the ICC said the court and its governing body of the member states welcomed the US move.