Advocacy update

Justice Initiative Supports ACLU’s Challenge against International Criminal Court Sanctions

Date
March 15, 2021
Contact
Office of Communications
media@opensocietyfoundations.org
+1 212-548-0378

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a preliminary injunction in their case challenging the Trump administration’s executive order that authorized sanctions against individuals who assist the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In a similar, but separate case pending before a federal court in the Southern District of New York (SDNY), Open Society Justice Initiative is co-plaintiff with four law professors who charge that the order violates freedom of speech. On January 4, 2021, the federal judge ordered the Trump administration not to enforce the order, granting the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction based on free speech grounds.

Betsy Apple, advocacy director with the Open Society Justice Initiative, issued the following statement in support of ACLU’s preliminary injunction request, “The Biden administration must urgently decide whether it will end this unconstitutional Trump-era executive order, and re-assume leadership on human rights and international justice. If they defend this executive order in court, we know what their approach to human rights policy truly is.”

If the federal judge in the ACLU’s case also grants the requested injunction, it would ratify what bar associations, legal scholars, former sanctions officials and human rights lawyers and NGOs have concluded: the executive order is illegal, it undermines the legitimacy of sanctions, and is contrary to America’s longstanding commitment to human rights and the rule of law.

The Biden administration has yet to take action to rescind the Trump-era order, saying during a February 18, 2021 State Department press conference that, “the Administration is thoroughly reviewing sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 13928 as we determine our next steps.” 

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