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AOAV, Airwars and partners urge US to end sanctions against ICC

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) is among a group of eight organisations who signed a public statement calling for the United States to end sanctions against members of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The ICC serves to prosecute government officials and other major actors for serious international crimes that extend beyond the realm of domestic courts. Since its founding in 2002, the ICC has successfully prosecuted against war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The statement, which is reprinted below, calls on the United States government to end sanctions imposed on ICC officials. It also urges both US Presidential campaigns to commit to reversing the Executive Order passed by US President Donald Trump in June 2020 that paved the way for the ICC sanctions.

Along with AOAV and Airwars, the signatories of this statement are all organisations dedicated to protecting civilians in conflict:

·      Amnesty International USA

·      Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)

·      Human Rights First

·      Oxfam America

·      Oxford Research Group

·      Saferworld

Here is the statement:

“We the undersigned, representing human rights and humanitarian non-governmental organizations working on the protection of civilians in conflict, write in opposition to United States sanctions against named senior personnel within the International Criminal Court (ICC).

We call on President Trump to revoke these harmful sanctions immediately and to rescind Executive Order 13928 on “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Associated with the International Criminal Court.” We also call on the Presidential campaigns of both major parties to publicly commit to reversing this harmful Executive Order. The United States should support the rule of law rather than punish those seeking to provide redress to victims of harm.

The ICC exists as a court of last resort to hold government officials and other powerful actors accountable when domestic courts are unable or unwilling to prosecute the most serious international crimes. The Court has secured successful prosecutions for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The primary beneficiaries are the many civilian victims who can secure no justice elsewhere and the communities subject to cycles of violence fuelled by impunity. They include many victims and survivors of violence for whom the United States has been a strong, vocal advocate for justice and accountability.

We understand that the United States takes issue with some of the ICC’s jurisprudence and assertions of jurisdiction. However, we believe that concerted diplomatic efforts and engagement with the ICC will enhance its effectiveness more than punishing individuals who have dedicated their careers to delivering justice to victims of egregious crimes.

As condemnatory statements from close U.S. allies make clear, the United States has lost significant international standing through these sanctions, which have undermined the international rule of law and provided succour to war criminals seeking to evade justice. 

The United States should recommit to an independent and credible domestic process of investigating and holding to account U.S. citizens for alleged abuses, free from executive interference and consistent with U.S. and international law. That is the best way to ensure that U.S. service members are afforded due process of law in a domestic forum for any alleged wrongdoing and that the U.S. is recognized as a leader in the pursuit of global justice and accountability.

Signed,

Action on Armed Violence

Airwars

Amnesty International USA

Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)

Human Rights First

Oxfam America

Oxford Research Group

Saferworld”