The US has imposed sanctions on the chief Prosecutor of the International criminal court (ICC)
Fatou Bensouda, and against Fakiso Mochochoko, Director of the court’s division of jurisdiction, complementarity and cooperation. When announcing the sanctions, us Secretary of state Mike Pompeo did not give any specific reasons for taking this measure. Pompeo said that the ICC “continues to target Americans,” and Bensouda, according to the Secretary of state, allegedly “materially assisted” these alleged efforts, the Guardian reports. The us Treasury Department issued a statement blocking the foreign assets of Bensouda and Mochochoko and prohibiting them from contacting the Americans, thereby placing these respected lawyers in the same group as terrorists and drug traffickers.
This decision, according to observers, was made because senior ICC judges authorized the investigation of American war crimes in Afghanistan. In June, Donald trump issued an Executive order imposing sanctions on ICC officials investigating the actions of Americans who may be involved in war crimes committed by all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan. The white house also opposed the investigation by ICC judges into potential Israeli crimes against the Palestinians. The criminal court, meanwhile, dealt with abuses committed by the Palestinian security forces in parallel with this investigation. The us administration’s actions against the ICC this summer were not supported by any other Western country or us ally other than Israel. The ICC said it was “an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and judicial proceedings.” The high court has made it clear that it will respond to the sanctions against Bensouda and Mochochoko.
According to Richard Dicker, Director of international justice at Human Rights Watch, the current decision of the us administration “marks a stunning distortion by the US of sanctions designed to punish human rights violators, but in fact expressed in the prosecution of persons charged with investigating international crimes.” “The trump administration has distorted these sanctions to obstruct justice not only for certain victims of war crimes, but also for victims of atrocities, anywhere, seeking justice at the international criminal court,” Dicker said.
The decision to escalate sanctions against the ICC is the latest in a series of radical steps taken by the trump administration on foreign policy issues that have left it isolated on the international stage. On Monday, the representative of Washington was the only one who voted against the resolution on combating terrorism in the UN security Council. In other recent UN security Council votes related to US efforts to renew sanctions against Iran, Washington only managed to win the support of the Dominican Republic. On Wednesday, Pompeo also confirmed that the US will not participate in the international effort to find a vaccine for COVID-19, because “the world health organization was involved.” The trump administration is still trying to blame who for the pandemic, which the US has handled worse than any other major industrialized economy.