US Adviser Lashes Out At ICC Over War Crimes Probe In Afghanistan

The ICC was established by the Rome Statute in 2002, but the United States did not ratify it as President George W Bush opposed the body.

"The International Criminal Court unacceptably threatens American sovereignty and United States national security interests", he said during a speech at a Washington think tank.

National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks at a Federalist Society luncheon at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, Sept. 10, 2018.

"The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel", National Security Advisor John Bolton said during a speech Monday. We will not cooperate with the ICC.

"We will not cooperate with the ICC".

Amnesty International official Adotei Akwei immediately rebuked the USA position, saying its rejection of the ICC's legitimacy "is an attack on millions of victims and survivors who have experienced the most serious crimes under international law and undermines decades of groundbreaking work by the international community to advance justice".

Bolton then issued a very clear threat: If the global court continues to pursue the probe, Washington will ban ICC judges from entering the country, prosecute them and sanction their funding.

"The US threats against the ICC are a coup against the rules in the global system", he said.

"If the court comes after us, Israel or other USA allies, we will not sit quietly", he warned.

In November 2017, an ICC prosecutor requested approval to launch a probe into potential war crimes by the United States armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency through the torture of detainees in Afghanistan.

If such a probe proceeds, the Trump administration will consider banning judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, put sanctions on any funds they have in the USA financial system and prosecute them in the American court system.

In his first speech as national security adviser, Bolton made the case that the ICC's authority is invalid, subverts American sovereignty, and concentrates power in the hands of an unchecked authority in a way that is "antithetical to our nation's ideals".

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In his speech targeting the ICC, Bolton questioned the legitimacy of The Hague-based court, its mission and mandate, warned that the United States would thwart any attempt by its prosecutors to open investigations into Americans for alleged war crimes and other abuses in conflicts in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, shakes hands with USA national security adviser John Bolton during their meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Aug. 20, 2018.

The State Department has accused Palestinian leaders of rejecting outright a still unseen U.S. peace plan, while in turn the Trump administration is viewed by the Palestinians as being biased in favour of Israel. "We will sanction their funds in the USA financial system, and, we will prosecute them in the USA criminal system".

"The court's jurisdiction is subject to the primary jurisdiction of states themselves to investigate and prosecute allegations of those crimes and bring justice to the affected communities".

When George W Bush became president in 2001, Mr Bolton sought and received permission to travel to NY to ceremonially "unsign" the document at the United Nations.

"And, today, reflecting congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an ICC [International Criminal Court] investigation of Israel, the State Department will announce the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office here in Washington, D.C".

Saed Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said that the submission urged the ICC chief prosecutor to meet with the council that represents Khan al-Ahmar's almost 200 residents ahead of the court-sanctioned eviction after 12 September. Those moves earlier this year provoked Palestinian withdrawal from talks over a still-to-be-released US plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

When former President Barack Obama drew a red line on Syria's use of chemical weapons, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called Obama's bluff and crossed it. Obama did nothing.

  • Rogelio Becker