MASERU – Development for Peace Education (DPE) has called on the United States of America to withdraw sanctions on Lesotho-born International Criminal Court (ICC) Director of Jurisdiction, Complementary and Cooperation, Phakiso Mochochoko, and his colleague, Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
The US imposed sanctions on Mochochoko and Bensouda on Wednesday last week, allegedly over ICC investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
However, announcing the sanctions, the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, did not give any specific reasons for the move other than to say the ICC “continues to target Americans” and that Bensouda was “materially assisting” that alleged effort.
The US Treasury issued a statement saying Mochochoko and Bensouda had been deemed “specially designated nationals”, grouping them alongside terrorists and narcotics traffickers, blocking their assets and prohibited US citizens from having any dealings with them.
The civil society and ordinary citizens at the DPE virtual meeting yesterday, September 7, called that the Trump administration should “retract its pronouncement to add Ms Fatou Bensouda citizen of Djibouti and Mr Phakiso Mochochoko citizen of Lesotho, both Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court to the list of Specially Designated Nationals in the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Unites States of America.”
The statement added that: “The meeting that was called by DPE deliberated on this issue and reached a decision to petition AU (African Union) Security and Peace Council as a port of entry into mobilising African leaders to stand up.”
DPE said “the highly charged meeting” mandated two people to develop a petition “which shall be send to the Council and be delivered to a number of centres in Lesotho and outside”.
“The petition shall be circulated for signatures,” it said.