Secretary Blinken calls Trump-era sanctions on the tribunal “inappropriate” even though the U.S. does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
President Joe Biden’s administration has lifted sanctions and travel ban on the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) who launched investigation against U.S. and Israeli military personnel for alleged war crimes.
In March 2020, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a “war crimes” probe against the U.S. troops fighting jihadi terrorist groups Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The ICC investigation against U.S. armed forces was not only a witch-hunt, but also illegitimate since Washington has refused to ratify the Rome statue that created the tribunal in 2002.
President Donald Trump responded to the Hague-based turbinal’s probe by issuing an executive order, authorizing sanctions against Bensouda and other ICC officials. The Trump White House also opposed a similar ICC investigation against members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for their operations against Gaza-based Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.
President Biden had ordered a “review” of the Trump-era sanctions shortly after entering the Oval Office. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday announced the lifting of sanctions and travel ban on ICC officials. He called President Trump’s countermeasures against the tribunal “inappropriate.”
The Reuters reported Friday’s decision by the Biden White House:
The United States on Friday lifted sanctions on International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that drew international criticism after they were imposed by the administration of former President Donald Trump.
The move, announced by U.S. 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.”
The ICC “welcomed” the decision and thanked the Biden administration for “strengthening” its work, which includes harassing the U.S. and allied troops for the services rendered during combat. “I welcome this decision which contributes to strengthening the work of the court,” a senior ICC official, Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, said in a statement.
President Biden’s attitude towards the ICC is in sharp contrast with the stance taken by the Trump administration, which rejected the self-style global tribunal’s jurisdiction over men and women serving the U.S. armed forces. “We cannot, we will not stand by as our people are threatened by a kangaroo court,” former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said June last year.
The Biden White House’s decision will further embolden the ICC as it pushes ahead with an illegal probe against Israeli military personnel for their defensive actions against Palestinian and Islamist terrorist groups. Israel, just like the U.S., does not recognize the Hague-based tribunal.
Bensouda, who was instrumental in the witch-hunt against the U.S. troops, played a central role in the ongoing anti-Israel investigation. Gambian-born Bensouda has meanwhile been replaced by UK lawmaker Karim Khan to run the “war crimes” probe against Israel.
Secretary Pompeo slams ICC ‘kangaroo court’ (June 2020)DONATE
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