Press release

Open Society Justice Initiative Welcomes Revocation of ICC Executive Order

Date
April 02, 2021
Contact
Office of Communications
media@opensocietyfoundations.org
+1 212-548-0378


NEW YORK—Today, the Biden administration rescinded a Trump-era executive order that authorized economic sanctions and severe civil and criminal penalties against those who support the International Criminal Court (ICC). This action also removed sanctions placed on the current ICC Prosecutor and a top aide.

In October 2020, the Open Society Justice Initiative and four law professors—Diane Marie Amann, Margaret deGuzman, Gabor Rona, and  Milena Sterio—filed the first lawsuit to challenge Executive Order 13928. The suit argues that the executive order violates plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, including freedom of speech, and prevents them from carrying out the work they usually undertake in support of international justice.

The withdrawal of the order fortuitously comes just days before the government’s response was due in the case, and after a federal court issued an injunction preventing the government from enforcing the order against the plaintiffs, on the grounds that it was likely unconstitutional.

“The United States has a long history of using sanctions to punish human rights abusers, but never before was this tool used to punish an independent court that seeks justice for victims of atrocities,” said James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative. “We welcome this step by the Biden administration to demonstrate its commitment to human rights, international justice and the restoration of U.S. ideals. We look forward to resuming our work with the Court.”

The ICC, based in The Hague, the Netherlands, was created by the Rome Statute of the ICC. The ICC may exercise jurisdiction over the investigation and prosecution of individuals accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

The plaintiffs are represented by a team of lawyers at Foley Hoag LLP, led by Andrew Loewenstein.


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