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FACT CHECK: Former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda no longer on US blacklist


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FACT CHECK: Former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda no longer on US blacklist
The US blacklisting of Bensouda, which took effect in September 2020, was already lifted in April 2021. Besides, she is no longer ICC prosecutor.

Claim: Former International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was placed on the US blacklist after her statements against former president Rodrigo Duterte. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: A video uploaded on March 19 in the YouTube channel “Showbiz Fanaticz” contained the claim. Titled, “Matapos PAGINITAN si PRRD| ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda BLACKLISTED NA sa AMERIKA| “KARMA AGAD!” (After her tirades against PRRD| ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda already blacklisted in America| “Instant karma!”), the video as of writing, has gotten 14,567 views.

As support for the claim, the video showed screenshots of a Reuters article titled, “U.S. blacklists ICC prosecutor over Afghanistan war crimes probe” published on September 2, 2020. The article said that according to then-state secretary Mike Pompeo, Bensouda was blacklisted for her investigation of alleged American war crimes in Afghanistan. The blacklist was an application of Executive Order 13928 signed on June 11, 2020 by former US president Donald Trump.

The bottom line: The US blacklisting of Bensouda was no longer in effect at the time the video was uploaded by “Showbiz Fanaticz” on March 19, 2023.

Status of Bensouda’s blacklist: Bensouda’s blacklist is no longer in effect after US President Joe Biden signed Executive Order (EO) 14022 on April 1, 2021. It served to revoke Trump’s earlier executive order which was the basis for blacklisting Bensouda. The EO said that Trump’s sanctions were “not an effective or appropriate strategy for addressing the United States’ concerns with the ICC” although it also mentioned that the US continues to object to the ICC’s assertions of jurisdiction over its personnel. 

The lifting of Bensouda’s blacklist had also been reported in a Reuters article, “U.S. lifts Trump’s sanctions on ICC prosecutor, court official,” published on April 3, 2021. 

Retired from the ICC: Bensouda’s tenure as ICC prosecutor had already ended on June 15, 2021. The current ICC prosecutor is Karim A. A. Khan

During her term as ICC prosecutor, Bensouda was involved in investigating the drug war killings under the Duterte administration. (READ: TIMELINE: The International Criminal Court and Duterte’s bloody war on drugs

Status of ICC’s investigation into drug war killings: The ICC’s investigation into the drug war killings resumed on January 26, 2023, thus ending its temporary pause on the probe which began on November 18, 2021. The Philippine government sent an appeal brief dated March 13, 2023, to the ICC asking to suspend its investigation; however, the ICC rejected the appeal on March 27.

Previous related fact-checks: Rappler has fact-checked several claims from “Showbiz Fanaticz” before. Two of them mentioned Bensouda, as can be seen here:

– Percival Bueser/Rappler.com

Percival Bueser is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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