Published: Tue, September 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

USA threatens the International Criminal Court with Sanctions, declares it already dead

USA threatens the International Criminal Court with Sanctions, declares it already dead

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.

Bolton announced the end of US support for the ICC in a speech to the Federalist Society billed as his first major address since joining the Trump administration in April.

Bolton is also expected to threaten U.S. sanctions against the International Criminal Court if it moves forward with a probe of alleged Israeli war crimes.

"We will sanction their funds in the USA financial system, and we will prosecute them in the USA criminal system", the paper reported Bolton was planning to say.

The United States is not and never has been a state party to the ICC, though certain administrations have cooperated with its investigations in the past.

"We will not cooperate with the ICC", Bolton said in his first major speech since joining the Trump administration in April. We certainly will not join the ICC. The administration did not oppose and offered limited assistance to an ICC investigation in Darfur.

Professor McCormack says such measures could jeopardise the ability of USA citizens to work with the ICC, though he questioned whether existing United States laws would enable such prosecutions.

Bolton said the United States would "take note" of other countries' cooperation with the ICC and "will remember that cooperation when settling U.S. foreign assistance, military assistance, and intelligence sharing levels".

Mr. Bolton also announced that the United States would shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization's office in Washington - a decision linked to the International Criminal Court, which he said was being prodded by the Palestinians to investigate Israel.

The Palestinians found few friends in the Trump administration, and "such irresponsible moves are clear proof of American collusion with Israel's occupation", said PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi.

Those indicted by the ICC, which was formed in 2002 by the Rome Statute, have included Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and his son Saif Al-Islam for crimes against humanity, Sudan President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes in Darfur, and Ugandan guerrilla leader Joseph Kony for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The ICC is an worldwide tribunal tasked with bringing to justice perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The Palestinians said they were undeterred from going to the ICC.

"Lowering the flag of Palestine in Washington DC means much more than a new slap by the Trump Administration against peace and justice; it symbolizes the US attacks against the global system as a whole, including the Paris Convention, UNESCO and the Human Rights Council among others", Erekat said.

It accuses the Palestinian leadership of condemning a yet-to-be-released Trump administration plan to forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

President Trump ordered the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization's offices in the nation's capital Monday; citing stalled peace talks with their Israeli counterparts in the ongoing Mideast peace process. In a status upgrade in 2011, former President Barack Obama allowed the PLO mission to fly the flag over its office located on Wisconsin Avenue.

He added that ICC judges and prosecutors would be banned from travelling to the United States, would have their assets frozen in U.S. jurisdictions and would face prosecution.

The PLO has been calling on the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into actions by Israel.

In announcing the closure, the State Department said it was "consistent with" concerns about Palestinian calls for an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court.

A protester takes part in a demonstration against the US funding cut to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, in the Ramallah, the occupied West Bank, last week.

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