Rep. McGovern Slams Trump Administration for Misguided Decision to Impose Sanctions on International Criminal Court Officials

WASHINGTON – Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and a leading congressional advocate for human rights, issued the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s decision to impose sanctions on two leading officials of the International Criminal Court:

“Today the Trump Administration has once again undermined American leadership on human rights and isolated our country on the world stage. The decision to sanction the chief prosecutor and a second top official of the International Criminal Court is a slap in the face to victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide the world over. This unilateral action will surely be condemned by our law-abiding democratic allies – and deservedly so.

“These sanctions are absurd. They are not in response to any crime or corruption. On the contrary, Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko are legally obligated to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity, and they are being targeted for doing their jobs.

“If the Trump Administration has problems with the work of the International Criminal Court, it should resolve them using diplomacy and established channels. Today’s petulant decision is nothing more than an attempt to bully and intimidate. It is an egregious abuse of the administration’s sanction power that will not stand the test of time.”

The Trump administration opposes ICC investigations on Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine that it fears could eventually implicate U.S. actors. Last March, Secretary of State Pompeo revoked the U.S. visa of Fatou Bensouda. President Trump issued Executive Order 13928 on June 11 authorizing further sanctions.