U.S. threatens global court over possible war crimes probe

Larry Hoffman
September 12, 2018

Bolton's threats against the ICC fall in line with the Trump administration's consistent criticism of worldwide institutions such as the United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and related actions such as withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord.

The court is now considering prosecuting U.S. servicemen over alleged detainee abuse in Afghanistan.

In her statement, Nauert called the decision consistent with concerns about "Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court".

Technically true since its creation, but John Bolton wants to make the point excruciatingly clear.

He has always been an outspoken critic of the court but Monday's hard-hitting speech in Washington focused on two areas.

United States National Security Adviser John Bolton on Monday warned the International Criminal Court against prosecuting its officials for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, Reuters reported.

More than 120 countries are signatories to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, including Germany.

The Palestinians were angered by Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move the U.S. Embassy there.

"It is ironic that the United States is punishing the PLO, the national representative of the Palestinian people and the highest political body that made the commitment to reaching a political and legal settlement of the Palestinian question and that has engaged in negotiations with successive USA administrations for decades", said Ashrawi, a PLO executive committee member.

Bolton has long opposed the ICC.

The US is among dozens of nations not to have joined the court, founded in 2002.

The ICC is already dead to us ... "We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans".

Neither Afghanistan nor any other government party to the ICC's Rome Statute has requested an investigation, Bolton said.

Bolton said if the ICC carries out the investigation of US military actions in Afghanistan, the United States would ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the country, freeze any funds they have in USA financial institutions and attempt to prosecute them in USA courts.

During a speech in Washington, Bolton blamed the Palestinian Authority for failing to take "meaningful steps" to advance peace.

ICC judges and prosecutors would be barred from entering the USA and their funds in the United States would be targeted. We will sanction their funds. we will prosecute them. More than 120 countries are members, but the United States, China, and Russian Federation never signed up.

What has the response been?

He also cited a recent move by Palestinian leaders to have Israeli officials prosecuted at the ICC for human rights violations.

This follows moves by President Donald Trump to end funding for the United Nations agency that helps Palestinian refugees, slash US aid for projects in the West Bank and Gaza and cut funding to hospitals in Jerusalem that serve Palestinians.

After becoming president in January 2009, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, vowed to end the Afghan war - one of the longest conflicts in USA history - but he failed to keep his promise. The African Union has urged a mass withdrawal from the ICC over the court's focus on the continent.

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