Human Rights & Public Liberties

Human Rights & Public Liberties

Published on: 13 Jan, 2021

‘A great relief’: Biden lifts US sanctions on International Criminal Court

Published on: 3 April, 2021
US President Joe Biden [Al Jazeera]

US President Joe Biden [Al Jazeera]

On Friday US President Joe Biden repealed US sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Biden revoked former US President Donald Trump’s 2020 executive order which imposed sanctions on the ICC.

In June 2020 Trump sanctioned Chief ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and  Phakiso Mochochoko, head of the ICC’s Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation division, after the ICC opened an investigation  into potential war crimes committed by US troops in Afghanistan.

Trump’ executive order authorized sanctions on any personnel at the ICC who were ‘investigating allied personnel without that ally’s consent’.

Trump’s decision was criticized by many of the US’ European allies, scholars and human rights groups.

Secretary of State Antony J Blinken announced Biden’s decision and said the measures adopted to sanction the ICC were ‘inappropriate and ineffective’’.

The US is not a member of the ICC.

Commenting on Biden’s decision, Leila Sadat, professor of international law at Washington University said the lifting of the sanctions was a ‘great relief’.

‘Deplorable and counterproductive’

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Sadat said: ‘The sanctions were unconstitutional under US law and a shocking abuse of US power and authority. At the same time it is important for the US now to move forward and join the Rome statute system and embrace the court.’

Mark Kersten, consultant at the Wyamo Foundation, said to Al Jazeera: ‘Finally the racist, deplorable and counterproductive sanctions against the ICC are over. It is however disappointing that Biden could not just announce that the sanctions had been withdrawn, he had to announce the US opposition to the ICC in the same breath.’