U.S. blacklisting of ICC prosecutor must be reversed, EU says

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union’s top diplomat called on Thursday for Washington to reverse its sanctions on International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and another member of the ICC, calling the measures “unacceptable and unprecedented”.

The United States blacklisted Bensouda on Wednesday over her investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan, under sanctions authorised by President Donald Trump in June that allow for asset freezes and travel bans.

Sanctions were also imposed on Phakiso Mochochoko, the head of the Hague-based ICC Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division.

“The sanctions ... are unacceptable and unprecedented measures that attempt to obstruct the court’s investigations and judicial proceedings,” Josep Borrell said in a statement. Washington should “reconsider its position and reverse the measures it has taken”, he said.

The U.S. sanctions reflect the Trump administration’s view that the tribunal threatens to infringe on U.S. national sovereignty. They are the latest move by Washington to go against the stance of long-standing European allies, which have largely supported American policy and whose trade and security ties are intertwined with the United States.

The EU condemned Trump’s decision to halt funding to the World Health Organization in April and says Trump’s withdrawal from other treaties and accords undermines Western priorities.