Press release

Justice Initiative Calls U.S. Sanctions Designations an Unprecedented Assault on ICC

September 02, 2020
Office of Communications
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NEW YORK—Today, the U.S. government has authorized sanctions and additional visa restrictions against senior International Criminal Court (ICC) officials, under the Trump administration's Executive Order "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Associated with the International Criminal Court". The individuals include Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division.

In April 2019, U.S. authorities revoked ICC's Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's entry to the United States—an effort widely understood to deter potential investigations into crimes against humanity by U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan. 

On June 11, 2020, President Trump took further action against the ICC by signing an executive order that allowed U.S. authorities to target any individuals that deemed to be associated with the court. Under the executive order, any individuals who "have directly engaged in any effort by the ICC to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute any United States personnel without the consent of the United States" or have attempted the same against a U.S. ally without that country's consent may be subject to sanctions.

The new round of punitive sanctions were announced today by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In response, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, James A. Goldston, issued the following statement: 

"The U.S. Secretary of State's announcement today that ICC officials Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko will be targeted for sanctions represent a new low in Washington’s assault on the international rule of law. This misguided effort is a betrayal of the best traditions of U.S. foreign policy and of the victims of grave crimes."

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