Biden ready to scrap Trump sanctions on ICC prosecutor, report says

The Trump administration was highly critical of the ICC’s efforts to investigate alleged war crimes by U.S. and Israeli forces.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

President Joe Biden plans as early as this week to revoke President Donald Trump’s June 2020 executive order levying sanctions on International Criminal Court (ICC) officials, Foreign Policy reported Wednesday.

The report cited “two sources familiar with the decision,” who said the move could happen as soon as this week or next.

Though the order is set to expire in June, advocates said it is important for Biden to revoke it now to “send a signal to the world.”

In February, more than 80 groups signed an open letter urging Biden to “rescind Executive Order 13928 and all sanctions measures against ICC officials at the earliest possible opportunity.”

The signers included Amnesty International, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), J Street, Open Society Foundations, and The United Methodist Church.

In accordance with the executive order, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had imposed sanctions on ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and another senior ICC official, Phakiso Mochochoko, in September 2020.

The Trump administration was highly critical of the ICC’s efforts investigate alleged war crimes by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Israeli forces in Judea and Samaria.

Trump’s order said that the ICC’s “illegitimate assertions of jurisdiction over personnel of the United States and certain of its allies … threatens to subject current and former United States Government and allied officials to harassment, abuse, and possible arrest.”

Bensouda, a Muslim from Gambia, gave an interview with Al Arabiya before taking her position as ICC prosecutor in June of 2012.

When asked whether her religion plays any role in helping her with her new position, she said, “Absolutely, definitely. Islam, as you know, is a religion of peace, and it gives you this inner strength, this inner ability and a sense of justice. Together with my experience, this will help a lot.”

Karim Khan, a British Muslim, has been elected to become the next ICC prosecutor when Bensouda’s term expires in June.