European states want to counter Washington’s sanctions against the ICC

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on August 28, 2018 in The Hague.

The sanctions taken by the United States against the International Criminal Court (ICC), after the opening of an investigation into alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan by American troops, risks constituting one more dispute with the Europeans. The European Commission could try to block these measures, allowing European companies to free themselves from them, at the request of several states, including the Netherlands, where the Court sits. “We are in contact with the European Commission on the possible use of the blocking regulation”, the mechanism to counter these sanctions, specifies in World a spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Trump administration increases pressure on International Criminal Court

The attempted retaliation comes as, on September 2, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced economic sanctions against ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and the head of judicial cooperation Phakiso Mochochoko. A new charge after the decree taken by Donald Trump in June, threatening to place on the ” blacklist “ anyone involved in the Court’s investigation into Afghanistan, or in any matter against its allies, including Israel. The prosecutor herself had already faced reprisals from the Trump administration. In the spring of 2019, her visa had been revoked for each of her trips to the United Nations Security Council in New York, which mandated her to investigate crimes committed in Darfur and Libya.

Limited economic impact

The economic impact of the sanctions, so far targeting only two officials of the Court, is limited. It complicates their daily life, such as using a bank account. But “Extending the blocking regulation to the ICC would be a political response”, explains a diplomatic source. “I know that a number of Member States have raised the question”, explains Eamon Gilmore. For the European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights, who hopes to convince his counterparts at the State Department in Washington of the advisability of withdrawing sanctions, “The main concern is to ensure that the ICC can ensure its independence, to ensure that it can do its job.”

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also US Deems ICC “Irresponsible” for Afghanistan Investigation

At the Dutch Foreign Ministry, we explain having “Taken several measures in recent months”, contacts with banks, in particular, “To ensure that the ICC will be able to continue its work”. The host of the Court is not in new territory. The Netherlands is targeted by a law passed in 2002 by Congress, ironically called the “invasion” law, authorizing the US president to use “Of all means” to free any Americans detained by the Court in The Hague. If Washington’s opposition is expressed differently at the discretion of the administrations, the substance remains the same: to counter any attack on its “Sovereignty”.

You have 43.27% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here