International Criminal Court at The Hague
International Criminal Court at The Hague iStock

The Biden administration plans to “thoroughly review” the sanctions that the Trump administration imposed on the prosecutor’s office of the international criminal court (ICC).

“The United States shares the goals of the ICC in promoting accountability for the worst crimes known to humanity. At the same time, the United States has always taken the position that the court’s jurisdiction should be reserved for countries that consent to it, or that are referred by the UN Security Council,” said a State Department spokesperson quoted in The Guardian.

“Much as we disagree with the ICC’s actions relating to the Afghanistan and Israeli/Palestinian situations, the sanctions will be thoroughly reviewed as we determine our next steps,” the spokesperson added.

In September, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slapped sanctions on the top prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, and another senior ICC official, Phakiso Mochochoko, after earlier visa bans on Bensouda and others failed to head off the court's war crimes probe into US military personnel in Afghanistan.

Several months earlier, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing sanctions on individuals involved in the ICC investigation into alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan.

The order authorized Pompeo to freeze assets of ICC officials involved in the investigation. In addition, Pompeo is authorized to block these officials from entering the US.

Trump also cited the ICC's war crimes investigations against Israel when signing the order.

Bensouda announced in late 2019 that she intends to open a full investigation into alleged Israeli “war crimes”, and later ruled that “Palestine” is a state and the ICC has jurisdiction involving its cases.