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France calls on U.S. to drop sanctions against ICC staff

FILE PHOTO: French European and Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, wearing protective face masks, leave following the last weekly cabinet meeting before summer vacation break, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 29, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - France called on the United States to withdraw sanctions on International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday.

The U.S. on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Bensouda over her investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan and said that Phakiso Mochochoko, head of the ICC’s Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division, had also been blacklisted.

“The measures announced are a grave attack against the court ... and put into question multilateralism and the independence of the judiciary,” Le Drian said in a statement and pledged France’s unwavering support for the court and its staff.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Chris Reese