Fact checks about countries

FALSE: US gov’t declares former ICC prosecutor Bensouda persona non grata

FALSE: US gov’t declares former ICC prosecutor Bensouda persona non grata
The Donald Trump administration did suspend Fatou Bensouda’s entry into the US in June 2020, but the sanctions were lifted by President Joe Biden in April 2021
At a glance
  • Claim: The United States government has declared former International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda persona non grata.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: The Donald Trump administration did suspend Bensouda’s entry into the US in June 2020, but the sanctions were lifted by President Joe Biden in April 2021.
  • Why we fact-checked this: The video has over 76,000 views, as of writing.
Complete details

A video posted on Sunday, June 20, by YouTube channel “Showbiz Fanaticz” falsely claims that the US government declared former International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda persona non grata.

The video is titled: “JUST IN: ICC, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda HINATULAN ng PERSONA NON GRATA sa BANSANG AMERIKA!” (JUST IN: US declares ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda persona non grata!)

The video features lawyer Larry Gadon, who says Bensouda has been declared persona non grata in the US due to her false allegations that the US government committed human rights violations.

Data from social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle show that the video has over 76,000 views and 273 comments on YouTube, as of writing.

This is false.

While the Donald Trump administration suspended Bensouda’s entry into the US by imposing visa restrictions through Executive Order No. 13928, the sanctions were already lifted by President Joe Biden in April 2021.

The Trump administration also included Bensouda in its list of Specially Designated Nationals, which effectively froze her US-based assets.

Under EO No. 13928, the US government suspended Bensouda’s “unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry” with exceptions: provided that the Secretary of State determines that her entry would not be contrary to the interests of the US, and that it would be beneficial to the law enforcement objectives of the US.

Moreover, though the Trump administration imposed visa restrictions on Bensouda, it is different from the implications of being declared persona non grata provided by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. It states that individuals declared by a state persona non grata will be immediately stripped of his or her functions and be recalled to the sending state.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the reversal of the Trump-era sanctions in April 2021, calling it “inappropriate and ineffective.”

“Showbiz Fanaticz” posted its video after Senator Francis Tolentino made a similar statement, which falsely said that the US government designated Bensouda as a terrorist

Bensouda on May 24 submitted an application to the ICC to open an investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity committed under President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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Bensouda’s action in the ICC was negatively received by political groups and figures supporting the Duterte administration. False claims that aim to target Bensouda’s credibility have since spread online.

One such claim was also posted by the Youtube channel “Showbiz Fanaticz,” which claimed that the Duterte government would arrest Bensouda. This is also false. – Lorenz Dantes Pasion/Rappler.com

Lorenz Dantes Pasion is a Rappler intern. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.

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