The US government of Joe Biden reported this Friday that it has lifted the sanctions imposed by the administration of former President Donald Trump on the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging a more collaborative relationship.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo there was imposed sanctions and rejected visas for outgoing ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda after she launched an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by US military personnel in Afghanistan.
The Hague-based court further irritated the United States by opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories committed by Israel, an American ally who rejects the authority of the ICC.
Pompeo’s successor, Antony Blinken, said The United States remains “in complete disagreement” with the actions taken by the ICC.
“We believe, however, that our concerns about these cases would be better addressed by involving all stakeholders in the ICC process rather than by imposing sanctions “Blinken said in a statement.
It noted that both the sanctions against Bensouda and the head of the Division of Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation of the Prosecutor’s Office, Phakiso Mochochoko, imposed in September 2020, as well as several visa restrictions decided in 2019 against ICC staff members, were revoked. .
The Gambian-born prosecutor will leave her post in June and will be replaced by British human rights lawyer Karim Khan.
The ICC, for its part, welcomed the “new phase” in relations with the United States after the lifting of sanctions. “I am confident that this decision will lead to a new phase in our joint fight against impunity for war crimes.”, said Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, the director of the Association of States Parties to the Court.
The United States signed but did not ratify the 1998 Rome Statute that gave rise to the ICC.
Undo Trump’s measures
This lifting of sanctions is part of the campaign of the beginning of the Biden administration to dissolve the measures of the Trump era that it considers erroneous.
On March 30, Blinken formally eliminated the maneuver promoted by its predecessor so that the defense of human rights abroad by the United States was limited to causes favored by the conservatives, such as religious freedom and property issues, while ignoring LGBTQ and reproductive rights.
Blinken said a report prepared for former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo trying to reduce the number of freedoms that are given priority in American foreign policy was “unbalanced”, did not reflect the policies of President Joe Biden’s administration and will not be used to guide them. The Pompeo Commission on Inalienable Rights report had been harshly criticized by human rights groups.
Secretary of State Blinken also reversed a decision by the Trump administration to remove sections on reproductive rights from the State Department’s annual reports on human rights in other countries. “Women’s rights – including sexual and reproductive rights – are human rights”, he stated.
Human rights activists condemned Pompeo’s commission report when it released it last year amid much fanfare from religious and conservative groups. The report was part of a broader plan by the Trump administration to restore the primacy of what some officials consider to be the values of the nation’s founders.
With information from AFP and AP