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Global Justice Center Blog

President Biden Repeals ICC Sanctions

NEW YORK — The Biden administration today repealed sanctions against the International Criminal Court. 

The sanctions, levied against Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and other court officials, were issued by President Trump last year following the court’s announcement of an investigation into potential war crimes committed by US military forces in Afghanistan.

Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, issued the following statement:

“The Biden administration did the right thing today by ending this reckless assault on a critical and independent judicial institution. Former President Trump’s sanctions were issued to help the US and its close allies evade accountability for their own human rights abuses, but their impact went much further by targeting court officials and their urgent work.

“Repeal is a start, but if the Biden administration wishes to be a true champion of human rights and the rule of law, it must fundamentally shift the US relationship with the court. This must include a genuine effort to ratify the court’s Rome Statute to demonstrate that the US commitment to justice is not merely rhetorical.

“For too long, the US approach to the court has been hypocritical, cementing a belief that it is beyond reproach and above the law. It’s time for the US to take its own human rights obligations seriously and submit itself to the international institutions they champion, thus beginning a robust, healthy engagement with this vital institution.”

Biden Plans to Repeal Trump-Era Sanctions on ICC

Excerpt of Foreign Policy article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

After Trump, “they’ve done a reasonable job but they’ve also had a pretty low bar to clear,” said Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Radhakrishnan said even if Biden lifts the sanctions, the fact that the United States imposed sanctions in the first place could still cause lasting damage to Washington’s reputation on global human rights.

“What it shows is that the U.S. is willing to allow things like self-interest to get in the way of independent judicial institutions when it finds them inconvenient for its own policies,” she said. “That, considering the things we say we stand for and advocate for worldwide, is deeply problematic.”

Read the Article

Joint Statement Opposing State Legislation Targeting Transgender Youth

We, the undersigned, represent a broad coalition of legal and policy experts, women’s advocates, educational associations, civil rights groups, and proponents of equality for all Americans. We strongly oppose proposed legislation that targets transgender youth for mistreatment and discrimination by seeking to ban them from participating in sports or from being able to access best practice medical care in accordance with the recommendations of those they trust.

It is unconscionable that in many states, lawmakers are proposing and passing a wave of dangerous bills that seek to ban transgender youth from participating on K-12 school sports teams and/or from being able to access best practice medical care. Transgender kids already struggle with bullying and mistreatment in schools and discrimination in public spaces and health care. These bills add to the crushing weight of discrimination in housing, public spaces, health care and more that transgender people face in our states and across the country. These bills put vulnerable transgender kids at risk of even more harassment and abuse.

Kids learn a lot of important life lessons in sports: leadership, confidence, self-respect, and what it means to be part of a team. Transgender kids want the opportunity to play sports for the same reason other kids do: to be a part of a team where they feel like they belong. For state lawmakers to discriminate against kids and ban them from playing because they’re transgender denies these kids this vitally important childhood experience and all the lessons it teaches.

Read the Full Letter

Genocide & Human Rights Webinar Series - Gender and International Responses to Genocide

In the fifth and final session in the Winter 2021 Genocide and Human Rights Webinar Series from the Zoryan Institute, Grant Shubin of the Global Justice Cente looks at the role of gender in the commission and international responses to genocide. In particular, how perpetrators use and exploit gender norms to increase the destructive impact of their attacks and the international community's blind spots to gendered aspects of genocide prevention and prosecution, with the Rohingya genocide as a case study.

Grant Shubin is the Legal Director of the Global Justice Center where he leads GJC’s programs on achieving gender equality through the rule of law. His work focuses on bringing feminist legal interpretations to ensure justice for sexual and gender-based violence and access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Watch the Webinar

March News Update: The Biden Record on Women's Rights

Dear Friend,

In the weeks leading up to President Biden's inauguration, we urged the president to go beyond rolling back Trump policies by embracing a "feminist foreign policy agenda that places marginalized communities, including women and LGBTQIA+ people, at its center."

Two months later, there's plenty to be excited about. The Biden administration repealed the global and domestic gag rules, appointed a diverse cabinet, and established the White House Gender Policy Council.

Yet it's critical we demand more. Biden still refuses to use the word "abortion," fueling the stigmatization of a human right. We've also heard little commitment to the repeal of the Helms Amendment, an international abortion restriction that serves as the legal foundation for the Global Gag Rule.

Thank you for standing with us as we fight for a feminist foreign policy.

Read the Full Newsletter