Background Materials — U.S. Sanctions

  • Relevant Treaties (in reverse chronological order)

  • ICC Documents (reverse chronological order)

    • Assembly of State Parties, Report of the Court on Cooperation, ICC-ASP/19/25, ¶ 57 (Oct. 28, 2020). Available online.

    • Press Release, ICC, International Criminal Court Condemns US Economic Sanctions (Sep. 2, 2020). Available online.

    • Fatou Bensouda on U.S. Sanctions, Interview by Marc Perelman, France 24 on YouTube (Jul. 2, 2020). Available online.

      Fatou Bensouda is interviewed about the decision of the U.S. to impose sanctions upon the International Criminal Court.

    • Situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, ICC-02/17 OA4, Judgment on the appeal against the decision on the authorization of an investigation into the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (AC, Mar. 5, 2020). Available online.

      The Appeals Chamber overrules the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber and permits the Prosecutor to open an Afghanistan investigation.

    • Situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, ICC-02/17, Decision Pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute on the Authorization of an Investigation into the Situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (PTC II, Apr. 12, 2019). Available online.

      The Pre-Trial Chamber denied the Prosecutor’s request to open an investigation into the Afghanistan situation.

    • Situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, ICC-02/17, Request for authorisation of an investigation pursuant to article 15 (PTC III, Nov. 20, 2017). Available online.

      The Prosecutor requests authorization to open an investigation into the Afghanistan situation.

  • Governments and Intergovernmental Organizations (reverse chronological order)

    • Complaint, Diane Marie Amann, Milena Sterio, Margaret deGuzman, Gabor Rona v. Donald J. Trump et al., 1:20-cv-08121 (S.D.N.Y., Oct. 1, 2020). Available online.

      The Open Society Justice Initiative and a group of law school professors sued the Trump Administration over Executive Order 13928.

    • Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State, Actions to Protect U.S. Personnel from Illegitimate Investigation by the International Criminal Court, U.S. Dept. of State (Sep. 2, 2020). Available online.

    • Presidential Executive Order 13928: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Associated with the International Criminal Court, 85 FR 115 (Jun. 11, 2020). Available online.

    • 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act for Further Recovery from and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States, Pub. L. No. 107–206, §§ 2001–2015, 116 Stat. 820, 899–909 (Aug. 2, 2002). Available online.

      The American Service-Members’ Protection Act was passed as Title II of this legislation and codified at 22 U.S.C. §§ 7421–7432. It has been referred to as the “Hague Invasion Act.”

  • News Articles (reverse chronological order)

    • Pranshu Verma, Trump’s Sanctions on International Court May Do Little Beyond Alienating Allies, N.Y. Times, Oct. 18, 2020. Available online.

    • Elian Peltier & Fatima Faizi, I.C.C. Allows Afghan War Crimes Inquiry to Proceed, Angering U.S., N.Y. Times, Mar. 5, 2020. Available online.

    • Dave Philipps, Trump Clears Three Service Members in War Crimes Case, N.Y. Times, Nov. 15, 2019. Available online.

    • Marlise Simons & Megan Specia, U.S. Revokes Visa of I.C.C. Prosecutor Pursuing Afghan War Crimes, N.Y. Times, Apr. 5, 2019. Available online.

  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) (reverse chronological order)

    • Human Rights Watch, US Sanctions on the International Criminal Court: Questions and Answers (Dec. 14, 2020). Available online (last visited Dec. 25, 2020).

    • Press Release, OSJI, Open Society Justice Initiative Sues Trump Administration over International Criminal Court Executive Order (Oct. 1, 2020). Available online.

  • Articles (alphabetical by author, then reverse chronological order)

    • Susan Akram & Gabor Rona, Why the Executive Order on the ICC is Unconstitutional and Self-Defeating, Opinio Juris (Aug. 13, 2020). Available online.

      The Executive Order is unconstitutional towards US citizens, impinges on sovereign decisions of foreign states, and there is no “national emergency” that justifies suspension of U.S. treaty obligations.

    • Diane Marie Amann, Margaret deGuzman, Gabor Rona & Milena Sterio, Why We Are Suing President Trump, Just Security (Oct. 8, 2020). Available online.

    • Diane Marie Amann, I Help Children in Armed Conflict. The President Is Forcing Me to Stop., Just Security (Jun. 29, 2020). Available online.

    • Haley S. Anderson, Why Them? On the U.S. Sanctions Against Int’l Criminal Court Officials, Just Security (Sep. 2, 2020). Available online.

    • Uzay Yasar Aysev, Can the International Criminal Court Hold the Trump Administration in Contempt?, Just Security (Jul. 30, 2020). Available online.

    • John B. Bellinger, III, The Trump Administration Throws Down the Gauntlet to the ICC. The Court Should Decline The Challenge., Lawfare (Sep. 10, 2018). Available online.

    • Rob Berschinski, Trump’s ICC EO Will Undercut All U.S. Sanctions Programs—Is That Why Treasury Isn’t Conspicuously on Board?, Just Security (Jun. 16, 2020). Available online.

    • William W. Burke-White, The Danger of Trump’s New Sanctions on the International Criminal Court and Human Rights Defenders, Brookings Inst. (Jun. 11, 2020). Available online.

      Burke-White argues that the sanctions regime is fundamentally misguided, and will do nothing to hinder ICC investigations. He further maintains that it will undermine the power of U.S. economic sanctions.

    • Wesley K. Clarke, The United States Has Nothing to Fear From the ICC, Foreign Pol. (Jul. 2, 2020). Available online.

    • Brian L. Cox, Exploring Some Limitations to the ICC’s Ability to Charge US Officials with Contempt, Just Security (Aug. 5, 2020). Available online.

    • Brian L. Cox, The ICC Wants Justice But Has No Mandate, Just Security (Jun. 24, 2020). Available online.

      Explains the U.S. point of view that it does not want the ICC to become a supranational judicial body and that the United States has not expressly consented to ICC jurisdiction.

    • David M. Crane, The Wrong Side of History—The United States and the International Criminal Court, Jurist (Jun. 13, 2020). Available online.

    • Carrie DeCell & Jameel Jaffer, Trump’s Executive Order on the ICC is Illegal, Not Just Shameful, Just Security (Oct. 13, 2020). Available online.

    • Margaret M. deGuzman, Editorial, For Working to Support Global Justice, I Could Face U.S. Sanctions, CBC, Oct. 31, 2020. Available online.

    • Benjamin B. Ferencz, Nuremberg Trial Prosecutor’s Warning About Trump’s War on the Rule of Law, Moyers on Democracy (Jul. 20, 2020). Available online.

      The sole surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg Trials warns that an executive order from President Trump regarding the International Criminal Court is cause for concern.

    • Christopher Hale, United States Must Not Become a Pariah in International Justice, Int’l Crim. Just. Today (Jul. 17, 2020). Available online.

    • Binoy Kampmark, Matters of International Justice: Challenging Trump’s ICC Sanctions, Int’l Pol’y Dig., Oct. 8, 2020. Available online.

    • Mark Kersten, Trump’s Sanctions Against International Criminal Court Staff Aren’t Just ‘Bad’, They’re Racist, Just. in Conflict (Sep. 10, 2020). Available online.

    • Orde Kittrie & Bradley Bowman, Military and Veteran Groups Decry ICC Investigation, FDD (Jun. 3, 2020). Available online.

      Because neither the United States nor Israel has joined the ICC, its investigations of their personnel violate United States and Israeli sovereignty, including the fundamental international law principle that a treaty is binding only on its parties and does not create obligations for non-parties without their consent.

    • Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Trump’s Rationale for Attacking the ICC —Continuity with Bush and Obama’s War on Terrorism, Just Security (Jun. 25, 2020). Available online.

    • Luis Moreno-Ocampo, The ICC’s Afghanistan Investigation: The Missing Option, Lawfare (Apr. 24, 2017). Available online.

    • Abbas Poorhashemi, US Sanctions Against the International Criminal Court: Where is International Law Going?, Jurist (Sep. 15, 2020). Available online.

    • Gary Raynaldo, U.S. Sanctions International Court Prosecutor For Investigating American War Crimes, Diplomatic Times, Sep. 2, 2020. Available online.

    • Gabor Rona, Letter to the Editor: There is No Affront to U.S. Sovereignty in the Int’l Criminal Court Investigation, Just Security (Jul. 2, 2020). Available online.

    • Leila Sadat, First They Came For Me and My Colleagues: The U.S. Attack on the Int’l Criminal Court, Just Security (Jun. 29, 2020). Available online.

      Sadat recounts the chilling effect that the Executive Order has on her, personally, as a special advisor to the Office of the Prosecutor.

    • David Scheffer, The Self-Defeating Executive Order Against the International Criminal Court, Just Security (Jun. 12, 2020). Available online.

    • OFAC Issues International Criminal Court-Related Sanctions Regulations; Lawsuit Seeks to Declare Executive Order and Regulations Unconstitutional, SmarTrade (Oct. 5, 2020). Available online.

    • Adam M. Smith, Dissecting the Executive Order on Int’l Criminal Court Sanctions: Scope, Effectiveness, and Tradeoffs, Just Security (Jun. 15, 2020). Available online.

    • Milena Sterio, The Trump Administration and the International Criminal Court: A Misguided New Policy, 51 Case W. Res. J. Int’l L. 201 (Sep. 17, 2019). Available online.

    • Marc A. Thiessen, Editorial, Trump Is Protecting Our Country from a Sham of an International Court, Wash. Post, Sep. 13, 2018. Available online.

    • Jennifer Trahan, Bully Tactics by the US Administration in an Attempt to Ensure Impunity, IntLawGrrls (Sep. 9, 2020). Available online.

    • Beth Van Schaack, Executive Order 13928 on Blocking Property of Certain Persons Associated with the International Criminal Court, ILM, 1-6 (Oct. 29, 2020), paywall, doi.

    • Beth Van Schaack, A Test for the US Posture on the Int’l Criminal Court: “Safe Harbor” Licenses?, Just Security (Sep. 4, 2020). Available online.

    • Beth Van Schaack, The Int’l Criminal Court Executive Order: Global Reactions Compiled, Just Security (Sep. 1, 2020). Available online.

    • Clint Williamson, Administration’s Actions Towards ICC Damage US Global Standing, McCain Inst. (Jun. 12, 2020). Available online.

    • John Yoo & Ivana Stradner, The U.S. Must Reject the International Criminal Court’s Attack on Its National Sovereignty, Nat’l Rev. (Mar. 17, 2020). Available online.

      Yoo and Stradner see the ICC investigation as an effort by a global elite to undermine American sovereignty.

  • Books (alphabetical by author)

    • Julie Fraser & Brianne McGonigle Leyh, Introduction, in Intersections of Law and Culture at the International Criminal Court (2020). Available online.

      Culture, ideology and power are at play between the United States and the ICC.

    • Richard Nephew, The Art of Sanctions (Jun. 22, 2017).

      Nephew offers a practical framework for planning and applying sanctions that focuses not just on the initial sanctions strategy but also on how to calibrate along the way and how to decide when sanctions have achieved maximum effectiveness.