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Germany, France slam US over sanctions against ICC chief prosecutor

Germany calls US sanctions against the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “a serious mistake” while France describes them as a “grave attack”.

Germany has added its voice to criticism of US sanctions against two top officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Friday described the sanctions, which include freezing the US assets of chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and one of her aides, as “a serious mistake.”

His comments follow calls from France and EU on Thursday for Washington to withdraw the sanctions.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement that the US sanctions were “a grave attack against the court and beyond that a questioning of multi-lateralism and the independence of the judiciary. France calls on the United States to withdraw the announced measures.”

Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said the US sanctions were “unacceptable” and “unprecedented.”

“The International Criminal Court plays an essential role in delivering justice to the victims of some of world’s most horrific crimes. Its independence and impartiality are crucial characteristics of the court’s work, which are fundamental for the legitimacy of its judgment,” Borrell said in a statement urging the US to reverse course.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced these latest sanctions again ICC officials on Wednesday.

Bensouda and other ICC officials already subject to a US travel ban over the court’s probe of alleged torture and other crimes by US troops in Afghanistan.

Source: DW

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