Fatou Bensouda
Fatou Bensouda Reuters

The Biden administration plans as early as this week to revoke a Trump-era executive order levying sanctions on the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and a top deputy, Foreign Policy reported on Wednesday, citing two sources familiar with the decision.

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in September of 2020 slapped sanctions on top ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and another senior ICC official, Phakiso Mochochoko, after earlier visa bans failed to head off the court's war crimes probe into US military personnel in Afghanistan.

The sanctions froze the US assets of the two officials, and bar any US individuals from doing business with them.

In June of 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing sanctions on individuals involved in the ICC investigation into alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan.

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

While the expected move is likely to ease a state of open hostility by the US government toward the Hague-based international tribunal, it is unlikely to end tension between the court and the Biden administration, which, like prior administrations, contends that the tribunal lacks standing to prosecute Israeli and US nationals.

Sources familiar with the matter told Foreign Policy the move could happen as soon as this week or next, but an official cautioned that no formal decision has yet been announced.

The Biden administration has previously said it plans to “thoroughly review” the sanctions imposed on the ICC by the Trump administration.

Last month it was reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had asked Biden to keep the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on the ICC in place.