MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Francis Tolentino on Thursday claimed that former International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was designated a terrorist by the US.
Tolentino, an administration senator, said this as he raised concerns over Bensouda’s “official credibility” to seek an investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings in the government’s “war on drugs”.
Trump administration sanctions revoked
The Trump administration’s top diplomat Michael Pompeo announced the sanctions on Bensouda and Mochochoko in November 2020 over the court’s investigation of alleged war crimes perpetrated by US troops in Afghanistan.
Pompeo at the time called the ICC “a thoroughly broken and corrupted institution,” and emphasized that the US has never been a part of the court. “We will not tolerate its illegitimate attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction,” he said then.
The US also protested the ICC’s probe into alleged crimes perpetrated by Israel in Palestinian territories. Israel is a close ally of the US and receives billions of dollars in military aid from the global superpower each year.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in a statement said the lifting of sanctions on ICC personnel reflects the Biden administration’s “assessment that the measures adopted were inappropriate and ineffective.”
Blinked added that the US continues to “disagree strongly” with the ICC’s probes on alleged crimes committed in Afghanistan and the Palestinian Territories and maintains its “objection to the Court’s efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-States Parties such as the United States and Israel.”
“We believe, however, that our concerns about these cases would be better addressed through engagement with all stakeholders in the ICC process rather than through the imposition of sanctions.”
The Philippines pulled out of the Hague-based ICC, the world’s only permanent war crimes court, in 2019 but Bensouda at the time said the tribunal could still investigate crimes committed while the country was still a member.
Malacañang has vowed not to cooperate with any “drug war” probe launched by the ICC and has criticized Bensouda’s request for an investigation as “legally erroneous” and “politically motivated.”
— with a report from The STAR
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