UN Chief welcomes US lifting of sanctions against ICC officials


The recent decision by the US government to lift sanctions and visa restrictions against officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been welcomed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The Secretary-General noted that the ICC “plays an important role in advancing accountability for international crimes”, spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, said in a statement on Saturday.

The previous administration in Washington has imposed economic sanctions against ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and the Head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division, Phakiso Mochochoko.

President Joseph Biden on Friday revoked the Trump-era executive order and a separate 2019 policy regarding visa restrictions on certain court staff was also terminated.

US Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken said in a statement that “these decisions reflect our assessment that the measures adopted were inappropriate and ineffective”.

The Court, which is based in The Hague, in the Netherlands, prosecutes the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

It was established in July 1998 under a treaty known as the Rome Statute, which more than 120 countries have signed. The US is not a party to the treaty.

The ICC also issued a statement on Saturday welcoming the developments from Washington.

“The Court is mindful that the United States has traditionally made important contributions to the cause of international criminal justice,” the statement said.

“The Court stands ready to reengage with the US in the continuation of that tradition based on mutual respect and constructive engagement.” (Source: UN News)