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Home / Press Release / Human Rights First Welcomes U.S. Withdrawal of ICC Sanctions
April 02, 2021

Human Rights First Welcomes U.S. Withdrawal of ICC Sanctions

WASHINGTON – Today, the Biden administration announced that it has revoked Executive Order 13928, under which the Trump administration in 2020 imposed targeted sanctions on officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and threatened to force the dissolution of the court. It also announced it had ended a 2019 policy of visa restrictions on ICC officials.

Human Rights First’s President and CEO Michael Breen issued the following statement in response to this decision:

“The Trump administration’s sanctions against the ICC were an appalling misuse of the U.S. government’s financial powers. These measures sought to intimidate and halt the work of an important accountability institution, put foreign human rights defenders who worked with the ICC at risk of being sanctioned themselves, and gave a green light to authoritarian governments around the world that seek to undermine any institution that might scrutinize their actions and hold them to account.

“Today’s announcement reversing these measures is a welcome step toward preserving the credibility of U.S. sanctions as a tool for protecting human rights and the rule of law.  If the United States has concerns about specific cases or investigations before the ICC, it should address those concerns in a way that allows it to remain a credible voice for justice and accountability.”

Human Rights First had previously criticized the Trump administration for threatening to sanction ICC officials and condemned the administration for imposing visa blocks and asset freezes against ICC officials and their families.