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Biden revokes US sanctions, visa restrictions on ICC chief and staff

Published: Updated:

The Biden administration revoked another sanctions-related decision made by former President Donald Trump on Friday, with the State Department announcing that it was lifting sanctions on International Criminal Court (ICC) officials.

Last year, the Trump administration sanctioned ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and top officials after they pushed ahead with investigating war crimes allegations against the US.

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The court’s head of jurisdiction, Phakiso Mochochoko, was also sanctioned.

But on Friday, the State Department announced the reversal of the decision “ending the threat and imposition of economic sanctions and visa restrictions in connection with the Court.”

“As a result, the sanctions imposed by the previous administration against ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, the Head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division of the Office of the Prosecutor, have been lifted,” the State Department said.

The Trump administration also issued an order preventing ICC staff from getting visas to visit the US after investigating US forces in Afghanistan.

Friday’s announcement also reversed that decision. “These decisions reflect our assessment that the measures adopted were inappropriate and ineffective,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

Blinken stressed that the US continues “to disagree strongly with the ICC’s actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations.”

He added: “We believe, however, that our concerns about these cases would be better addressed through engagement with all stakeholders in the ICC process rather than through the imposition of sanctions.”

Read more: Trump authorizes sanctions over ICC Afghanistan war crimes case