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U.S. Sanctions Against ICC Staff Creates Chilling Effect for International Justice

NEW YORK - Responding to today's announcement of U.S. sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC), Daniel Balson, advocacy director at Amnesty International USA, said:

The Trump administration's decision to enact sanctions against senior ICC staff is another brazen attack against international justice. The court is made up of legal professionals who have dedicated their professional lives in pursuit of justice for victims and survivors of some of the most horrific crimes, including crimes against humanity. They should be commended for their commitment, not subjected to a punitive campaign of intimidation. Grotesquely, the White House’s actions may dissuade survivors of human rights abuses from demanding justice, and create a chilling effect on those who would support their efforts.

Today’s announcement is designed to do what this administration does best—bully and intimidate. It penalizes not only the ICC, but civil society actors working for justice alongside the court worldwide.

Today’s reckless actions constitute a demand that the U.S. government be granted a political carve out of impunity for nationals accused of having committed crimes under international law in Afghanistan. No one responsible for the most serious crimes under international law should be able to hide from accountability, under a cloak of impunity.

Amnesty International USA is calling on Congress to stand up for international justice and object to this transparent abuse of the executive’s congressionally mandated sanctions power by speaking out forcefully against this decision and modifying the powers it grants to the executive so that they can no longer be abused in pursuit of impunity.

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Amnesty International is a global movement of millions of people demanding human rights for all people – no matter who they are or where they are. We are the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization.

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