Fatou Bensouda condemns ‘unacceptable’ U.S. sanctions

Dec 16, 2020, 1:27 PM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The outgoing chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has blasted what she called “unacceptable sanctions” imposed on her and members of her office by the Trump administration.

The U.S. sanctioned Bensouda and some members of her team in September after the ICC began a probe in alleged possible war crimes by the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

The Gambia born Bensouda made her stance known on the issue while addressing the Assembly of State Parties of ICC during the annual meeting in The Hague on Monday.

The former Gambian Justice Minister in the beginning of her final speech to the general body as chief prosecutor expressed her dismay at the decision taken by the Trump administration to impose sanctions on her and members of her team while hoping that the decision would be reversed.

The outgoing chief prosecutor who leaves office in June 2021 said, the ICC and her prosecution office were “subjected to unprecedented and wholly unprecedented threats, attacks and sanctions this past year.”

The ICC Chief prosecutor who seemed shocked by the unprecedented decision taken by the U.S. authorities said “no one wins from such tactics.”

The U.S. is seen to be a model of democracy and Bensouda thinks the country is setting a ‘dangerous precedent’ in terms of the international system.

She said the sanctions against her office set a “dangerous precedent for rules-based international system.”

She therefore hopes that authorities in the U.S. will rethink the decision and make it right.

“It is my sincere hope that the U.S. reverses its aggressive policy of antagonism towards the court,” Bensouda said.

It could be recalled that the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had announced the freezing of assets in the U.S. or subject to U.S. law by Bensouda and the ICC head of jurisdiction Phakiso Mochochoko.

In addition, Pompeo also in September announced a travel ban on the Gambian as the chief prosecutor and officials involved in the investigation of American troops in Afghanistan.

Top officials around the world are hoping that president-elect Joe Biden will reserve the unprecedented decision taken by the Trump administration.

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