On Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the Biden administration revoked sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on officials associated with the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The move reverses sanctions on ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, another top ICC official. Blinken said the State Department also terminated separate visa restrictions on other ICC personnel.
The Trump administration imposed the sanctions over the court’s investigation into US war crimes in Afghanistan. In his statement, Blinken made it clear that the Biden administration is still opposed to the Afghanistan probe, as well as the ICC’s recent decision to investigate Israeli war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“We continue to disagree strongly with the ICC’s actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations,” Blinken said. “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.”
In March, after the ICC announced its decision to investigate war crimes in the Palestinian territories, Blinken said the US “firmly opposes” the case. He accused the court of “unfairly” targeting Israel, although the ICC plans to investigate alleged war crimes of both the Israeli government and Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the ICC decision, calling it “pure antisemitism.” Reports say Netanyahu asked President Biden to keep the ICC sanctions in place.