“We believe, however, that our concerns about these cases will be better managed through coordination with all stakeholders in the ICC process rather than the imposition of sanctions,” Blinken said in a statement.
Last year, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions against Bensouda and the Hague tribunal’s director of jurisdiction, Phakiso Mochochoko, accusing them of harassing the United States and its allies. The sanctions included bans on entry to the US for the Gambian prosecutor and the freezing of assets of both those responsible.
At issue is the opening of an investigation into possible war crimes committed by US forces in 2003 and 2004 in Afghanistan, especially the treatment of prisoners of war who have been sent to secret prisons in various parts of the world where, according to some reports, were subjected to torture and other human rights violations.
Washington did not ratify the Rome Statute that created the ICC in 2002, and criticized from the beginning the conduct of the court that it believed could serve to politically persecute the United States. However, the sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration represented the lowest point in relations between the U.S. and the Hague tribunal.
The withdrawal now made by Joe Biden is in line with his promises to respect and collaborate with global multilateral institutions. Since the new administration took office, the United States has returned to the World Health Organization, re-entered the Paris Agreement on climate change and is in talks to return to compliance with the Iranian nuclear agreement.
“I believe that this decision signals the beginning of a new phase in our common mission to combat impunity” in war crimes, said the director of the ICC Association of States, Silvia Fernandez Gurmendi, in a statement.
Get the latest news delivered to your inbox
Follow us on social media networks