ACILA condemns US sanctions on ICC officials, urges AU to speak out
William Nyarko, ACILA’s Executive Director
The Africa Center for International Law and Accountability (ACILA, has categorized as “unprecedented and unacceptable”, the Trump administration’s imposition of sanctions on officials of the International Criminal Court.
ACILA is also asking the African Union to add its voice to the wave of condemnations that has greeted the US action.
The ICC is investigating allegations of US forces committing war crimes in Afghanistan, however the US which is noted to object to the legitimacy and authority of the widely recognised UN-backed court, says the probe constitutes “illegitimate attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction”.
ICC’s Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and the Head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division, Phakiso Mochochoko, have been slapped with sanctions issued under executive orders by US President Donald Trump, including the blockade of their assets and their ineligibility to enter the US.
ACILA’s Executive Director, William Nyarko argues that the two individuals (Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko “are international civil servants doing their lawful work as authorized by a multilateral treaty, The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which statute has been ratified by 123 countries.
“To place these individuals on the sanctions list on which actual and alleged criminals are for doing their lawful work is unacceptable and the sanctions must be reversed.”
Mr. Nyarko adds that additionally, the US sanction, which also prevents the ICC prosecutor from going to the UN in New York, to report on the ICC’s work to the UN Security Council, violates the UN Headquarters Agreement, and international law.
“As well, the US action is a threat to the Global Rule of Law and justice for victims of atrocity crimes. For these victims, the ICC is the court of last resort when states are unwilling or unable to bring perpetrators to justice.”
The Gambiahttps://africa.cgtn.com/2020/09/06/the-gambia-expresses-dismay-over-u-s-sanctions-on-icc-officials/, EU, UK and France have all voiced concerns over the sanctions, and in some cases condemning the action outrightly.
The ACILA Director said Gambia must be commended for calling out the US and asking that the sanctions be reversed, and asked the African Union which it says should have made the call earlier and led the way, to take a cue.
“Africa has the highest number of countries that have ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 30, and has had the highest number of cases the ICC has been or is working on. The sanctions imposed on the ICC officials under Trump’s Executive Order can potentially be expanded to overreach more officials of the ICC and hamper the effectiveness of the ICC in providing justice for victims of atrocity crimes in Africa as well. The European Union has condemned the US sanctions and called for its reversal. The African Union can do no less, it should condemn the US action and ensure it adds its voice for reversal of the sanctions.”