US ends sanctions against ICC personnel

The administration of US President Joe Biden has lifted sanctions against the chief prosecutor and a senior official of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The sanctions were imposed in September by the government of former President Donald Trump over the ICC's investigation into alleged war crimes, including torture, by American troops in Afghanistan.

Under the sanctions, the two ICC officials' assets in the United States were frozen.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement on Friday, calling the measures adopted by the previous administration "inappropriate and ineffective."

He said the state department also terminated the separate 2019 policy on visa restrictions on certain ICC personnel.

Blinken said, "We continue to disagree strongly with the ICC's actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations."

He added, however, that US 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 move is widely viewed as another clear departure by the Biden administration from the "America First" policy of its predecessor.