John Bolton threatens ICC with sanctions in virulent attack

The United States is threatening to sanction judges and prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) if they investigate alleged war crimes by American troops in Afghanistan and to punish any foreign government which co-operates in their efforts.

"We will not cooperate with the ICC", Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton (photo) will say in a hard-hitting speech to a far right wing group, the Federalist Society.

Adotei Akwei, Deputy Director Advocacy and Government Relations at Amnesty International US, said: "The ICC prosecutes the most serious crimes under international law - genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression".

The possibility that the International Criminal Court might prosecute United States citizens for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and a Palestinian attempt to hold Israel to account at the ICC are reported to have prompted the USA to move against the court.

Bolton said the ICC "was created as a free-wheeling global organization claiming jurisdiction over individuals without their consent" and stressed longstanding concerns that American servicemembers could be indicted by the court. And Bolton added, "We will not allow the ICC, or any other organization, to constrain Israel's right to self-defense", per the Wall Street Journal.

"I'd say, 'You'll get money, but we're not paying you until we make a deal".

National Security Advisor John Bolton will assert US opposition to the ICC probe in a speech, a draft of which was seen by the news agency.

The United States may also negotiate more binding bilateral agreements to bar nations from surrendering American citizens to the worldwide court.

Bolton's comments reinforced an earlier statement by the US Department of State which announced the closure of the office of the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Washington.

"The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel", Bolton is expected to say, according to the prepared remarks.

Wildfire keeps major California highway closed for third day
The Delta Fire was human-caused, fire officials said, but they didn't indicate whether it was arson or accident. The fire has chewed through 150 square kilometres of timber since Wednesday.

A former adviser to trump in jail
Russian Federation has continually denied allegations of interfering in the 2016 election. "There's no doubt about it". The judge who sentenced Van der Zwaan, by contrast, did not feel he was contrite about his crimes.

Olivia Newton-John reveals she’s battling cancer again
The star has previously spoken about the shock of the diagnosis, which came on the same weekend that her father died from cancer. But in recent years, it's her fight against cancer that's been in the headlines. "No, I don't go there".

President Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute that established the court, but his successor, George W. Bush, renounced the signature, citing fears that Americans would be unfairly prosecuted for political reasons.

Ms. Bensouda submitted a formal request to start an investigation based upon a 2016 ICC report that found that us armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency might have committed war crimes by allegedly torturing detainees.

Although the Israelis and Palestinians are not engaged in active, direct negotiations, Trump's administration has been working to mediate a peace deal that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"We will take note if any countries cooperate with ICC investigations of the United States and its allies, and we will remember that cooperation when setting USA foreign assistance, military assistance, and intelligence sharing levels", he said.

It has been United States policy to oppose Palestinian attempts to bring Israel before the ICC.

"Accordingly, we continue to call upon the International Criminal Court to open its immediate investigation into Israeli crimes", he stated. "The U.S. would do better to finally understand that the Palestinians will not surrender and that no amount of coercion or unwarranted collective punishment measures will bring the Palestinian leadership or people to their knees".

"I was honored to lead US efforts internationally to protect Americans from the Court's unacceptable overreach, starting with un-signing the Rome Statute", Bolton said.

PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi called the US policy "blackmail" that "once again seeks to punish the Palestinian people as a whole who are already victims of the ruthless Israeli military occupation".

Bolton threatened sanctions and a ban on travel to the United States against judges and prosecutors involved in attempted tribunals of Americans or Israelis.

Israel last month lodged a formal protest with the ICC for launching a campaign to reach out to "victims of the situation in Palestine", an unusual step which Jerusalem officials charge casts doubt on the court's ability to treat the Jewish state fairly. "Overall, the decision puts the health of five million Palestinians at risk".

Latest News