Trump administration to threaten ICC judges with sanctions, prosecution

Posted September 12, 2018

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has said it will "continue to do its work undeterred", after US National Security Advisor John Bolton threatened sanctions if the tribunal investigates alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan.

National Security Adviser John Bolton on Monday made the unprecedented move of threatening the International Criminal Court if it follows through with investigations of alleged war crimes committed by United States troops and intelligence officials in Afghanistan.

'We have been officially informed that the USA administration will close our embassy in Washington as a punishment for continuing to work with the International Criminal Court against Israeli war crimes, ' Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said.

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

Potential measures include barring ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the USA and freezing any funds they have in the United States.

"In practice, however, the court has been ineffective, unaccountable, and indeed, outright unsafe". The PLO and the Palestinian Authority demanded that the ICC prosecute Israel and its leaders for crimes against the Palestinian people, and the ICC recently declared that it was "gathering information" on those complaints.

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

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the Palestinians have asked the Hague-based ICC to investigate the Israeli army's planned razing of Khan al-Ahmar near Jerusalem.

Mr Bolton said: "We will not co-operate with the ICC".

Palestinian leaders confirmed they'd been informed by the Trump administration that it plans to shut the Palestinian mission in Washington, condemning the move as proof the disbanding global efforts toward a peace deal with Israel.

The United States did not ratify the Rome treaty that established the ICC in 2002, when President George W. Bush opposed the court.

If the ICC does come after the U.S., Israel, or any allies, Bolton said the U.S. will not sit quietly.

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The closure was just the latest move the administration has taken against the Palestinians and in favor of Israel.

To those of you who spent the holiday in shul, away from your mass media, The Trump administration on Monday announced it is closing the PLO office in Washington, DC, cutting off the Palestinian Authority's ability to maintain its diplomatic mission to the US.

Amnesty International official Adotei Akwei immediately rebuked the us 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".

The move was, not surprisingly, praised in Israel, where a government official said the U.S. was taking a clear stance against the Palestinian refusal to negotiate.

"This is an additional measure that must make it very clear to the current and future Palestinian leaders that the United States is not an actor to be ever trusted when it comes to any matter related to "peace" negotiation and talks". That led Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to break off contact with US officials for what he called pro-Israel bias, and the opening of the new embassy was met with large Palestinian protests in which dozens were killed. Trump has said that his views have changed since entering the White House and that he would continue the military intervention "as long as we see determination and progress" in Afghanistan.

We will let the ICC die on its own.

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Earlier this month, the U.S. halted funding of the United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees.