Biden lifts Trump’s sanctions on ICC’s Bensouda, others

Apr 6, 2021, 12:13 PM | Article By: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s Europe Correspondent

Punitive sanctions implemented by former U.S. President Donald J. Trump, against Fatou Bensouda, the Gambian International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor along with key officials are lifted according to E.U. officials who campaigned against the retaliatory measures.

The Point had reported that the request to lift all the sanctions against the ICC officials was made by influential European countries who publicly demanded the ‘‘immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all sanctions and other threats’’ against the court officials.

Fatou Bensouda, aka Fatou Bom in The Gambia, came under fire with severe and intensive condemnation by the former U.S. President and Israel following the ICC’s decision to investigate alleged war crimes in both Palestine and Afghanistan.

However, E.U. officials and other human rights groups intervened and vigorously protested to halt the sanctions but to no avail.

Prior to the official statement, this correspondent was told Thursday that the ‘‘demand by European leaders and other right groups across the globe was well-thought-out by the Biden administration and thus as a matter of urgency, the sanctions may be lifted soon.’’

Consequently, following consultations with allies, the Biden administration ‘‘thoroughly and carefully reviewed the sanctions in pursuant to Executive Order 13928…’’

Officials also recalled that the views of the European leaders are in ‘‘accordance with the Rome Statute’’ and maintained that countries such as the U.K., France, Germany and the Netherlands have emphasised the importance of the ICC and renewed their support and protection. 

During the early days of the sanctions, Paris had further protested and announced that ‘‘…imposition of sanctions against personnel or persons cooperating with the ICC represents a serious attack against the court and the States party to the Rome Statute’’.

Furthermore, collectively, the E.U. had also declared during the annual meeting of the Court’s member states in The Hague that it continued to back the ICC as an ‘‘independent and impartial judicial institution…in a time that the rules-based international order is facing increased pressure… ’’.

Nevertheless, former President Trump refused to pay heed and carried out the punitive and punishing sanctions anyway. Critics said it was ‘‘mere reprisal and revenge against the ICC without legal merits’’.

Fatou Bensouda had complained that the sanctions against her are ‘‘unprecedented and coercive move against the Court and its judicial independence… such sanctions are usually reserved for terrorists and drug traffickers…’’.

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