J Street welcomes the Biden administration’s important decision to remove harmful and inappropriate sanctions that had been placed by the Trump administration on senior officers of the International Criminal Court.
J Street was one of over 80 NGOs, faith-based groups and academic institutions that recently called on the Biden administration to repeal the sanctions, noting that: “Keeping in place the executive order authorizing sanctions would be inconsistent with the new administration’s laudable commitments to respecting the rule of law and pursuing multilateral cooperation in support of U.S. interests.” We have been clear that former President Trump’s decision to impose sanctions on the Court showed blatant contempt for the rule of law and for rules-based international institutions. Regardless of opinions or disagreements on any particular matter before the ICC, it’s obvious that sanctioning its personnel was not the act of an administration interested in justice and due process.
By removing these sanctions, President Biden, Secretary Blinken and their team are sending an important message that whatever disagreements they may have with the ICC or other international bodies, they will not act to improperly interfere with their proceedings or to intimidate and bully their personnel.
Shamefully, some right-wing advocates for Israeli government policy have urged the Biden administration to maintain the Trump sanctions, in order to punish the ICC for recent decisions re jurisdiction and investigation of alleged violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. While J Street takes no position on the merits of the ICC’s decisions in that matter, we appreciate that the administration rejected such a harmful approach.