A climate of fear reigns in The Hague following Washington’s move to blacklist the ICC prosecutor in response to the institution’s opening of an inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan. What action can the Court take against US sanctions?
During a press conference, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that two members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) would be put on a “specially designated nationals” list alongside terrorists and narcotics traffickers: Gambian-born chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, and Phakiso Mochochoko, a Lesotho national serving as the ICC’s director of jurisdiction, complementary and cooperation division.
While some observers have deemed the Trump administration’s offensive targeting the two Africans as “racist”, the announcement set off an uproar at the prosecutor’s office. In a statement released the following day, the ICC denounced the “unprecedented and serious attacks directed at an international judicial institution” and reaffirmed its independence and impartiality.