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ICC's Fatou Bensouda says relations with the US are undergoing 'reset'

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, June 14, 2021.   -  
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International Criminal Court

International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said on Monday the global tribunal's relationship with the US is now undergoing a "reset" under the new US administration of President Joe Biden.

Previously, it had been plunged into a deep freeze by Former President Donald Trump when he hit Bensouda with sanctions for investigating alleged war crimes. 

"In the first instance, I do believe that it was wrong, really a red line has been crossed to sanction, not Fatou Bensouda personally, but to sanction the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court when she is trying to do her work that she's mandated to do. So for me, that shouldn't happen. That should not have happened," said ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

As a result of the Trump administration's actions, she was subjected to a travel ban in March 2019, followed 18 months later by a freeze on any US-based assets. 

Sanctions that were lifted by President Joe Biden in last April.

"We are at a more helpful place now because the Biden administration has decided to lift those sanctions and both the administration and ourselves, we are working on some kind of a reset that is the relationship between the ICC and the US administration," Fatou Bensouda added.

Even though the US government still disagrees with her desire to continue investigations on alleged war crimes comitted by the US and its allies, Fatou Bensouda says the ICC will not stop.

"And I have always said, in my time here at the ICC, I've always said that we will go to where the evidence leads us. If there is evidence that these crimes that fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC, no matter where it happens, the ICC will look into those cases. And I think now we have demonstrated that. We have demonstrated that really it's the evidence that matters, and not because there is a design by ICC to just have cases in Africa," Bensouda added.

Investigations that will have to be carried by her successor, British lawyer Karim Khan, who will take office this Wednesday.