Biden Lifts Trump Administration Sanctions on International Criminal Court Officials

President Joe Biden announced Friday (April 2) the lifting of sanctions imposed by former President Trump (R-Texas) on two senior officials of the International Criminal Court.

President Biden announced Friday the termination of an executive order issued by President Trump last June – authorizing U.S. sanctions against individuals associated with the International Criminal Court involved in the investigation of war crimes committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The sanctions included a freeze on assets in the United States and a ban on entry.

Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the International Criminal Court poses a politically motivated threat to U.S. sovereignty.

Last September, the United States announced sanctions against Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and Fakiso Mochochoko, director of the jurisdiction, complementary principles and cooperation division of the court’s Office of the Prosecutor.

The International Criminal Court is a permanent body based in The Hague that hears cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The United States is not a member. The United States is concerned that the tribunal could be used to prosecute U.S. military personnel and officials for political motives.

Voice of America reported that President Biden said the U.S. “continues to strongly reject” the International Criminal Court’s claim that it has jurisdiction over “non-state parties” and will “continue to vigorously protect” current and former U.S. personnel from any attempt to exercise such jurisdiction; however, “the threat or imposition of sanctions against the tribunal, its personnel, and those who assist it is not an effective or appropriate strategy for addressing U.S. concerns about international criminal tribunals. “.

Secretary of State Blinken also emphasized in a statement that the U.S. continues to strongly disagree with certain actions taken by the tribunal. But he said Washington believes that “our concerns about these cases” can be “better addressed” through diplomacy rather than “imposing sanctions.

President Biden has vowed to return the United States to the international arena and multilateral institutions. Since he took office, the U.S. has rejoined the World Health Organization and the U.N. Human Rights Council, and returned to the Paris climate agreement.