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U.S. To Review Sanctions Imposed By Trump Over ICC Afghanistan War Crimes Probes

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. (file photo)

The Biden administration will review U.S. sanctions on International Criminal Court (ICC) officials imposed over investigations into U.S forces in Afghanistan, a State Department spokesman said on January 26.

The Trump administration last year authorized economic sanctions and travel restrictions against employees of the ICC who were directly involved in investigating U.S. troops and intelligence officials for possible war crimes in Afghanistan.

The United States accused The Hague-based tribunal of infringing on U.S. national sovereignty when it authorized the investigations.

The executive order signed by former President Donald Trump last year targeted court staff, including prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. The United States is not a party to the Rome treaty that established the court in 2002.

"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 State Department spokesman said in an e-mail to RFE/RL.

In addition to the investigations into possible war crimes in Afghanistan, the ICC launched an investigation in 2019 into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories, including by Israeli forces.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell voiced "serious concern" at Trump’s order after he signed it in June, and human rights groups deplored the move. The ICC rejected the sanctions and expressed "profound regret."

With reporting by Reuters
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