Sky News | Published: September 10, 2018
National security adviser John Bolton says the International Criminal Court is “illegitimate” and “dead” to the US.
The International Criminal Court is based in The Hague
The US has threatened to prosecute International Criminal Court (ICC) judges if they proceed with investigations into alleged war crimes by American troops in Afghanistan or other conflicts.
An ICC judge is expected to announce soon whether an investigation will be opened into allegations of war crimes committed by Afghan national security forces, Taliban and Haqqani network militants, and US forces and intelligence in Afghanistan since May 2003.
Allegations against US personnel include torture and illegal imprisonment.
Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said the US would not “sit quietly” if the ICC came after it, Israel, or other US allies.
“The International Criminal Court unacceptably threatens American sovereignty and US national security interests,” he said during a speech at a Washington think tank.
His comments followed the closure of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s office in Washington on Monday.
The Trump administration said it took the decision because Palestinian leaders were allegedly refusing to take part in talks with Israel.
It has been US policy to oppose Palestinian attempts to bring Israel before the ICC.
“The United States supports a direct and robust peace process, and we will not allow the ICC, or any other organisation, to constrain Israel’s right to self-defence,” Mr Bolton said.
John Bolton said the ICC was ‘illegitimate’
Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said the office closure was “yet another affirmation of the Trump administration’s policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people”.
Last month, the US cancelled more than $200m (£153m) in aid for projects in the West Bank and Gaza.
Over the weekend, it announced it was cutting $25m (£19m) in assistance for hospitals in east Jerusalem that provide critical care to Palestinian patients.
Regarding the ICC, Mr Bolton described the court, based in The Hague, as “illegitimate”.
He said: “We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC.
“We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”
He added that ICC judges and prosecutors would be banned from travelling to the US, would have their assets frozen in US jurisdictions and would face prosecution.
“No committee of foreign nations will tell us how to govern ourselves and defend our freedom,” Mr Bolton said.
The Rome statute that created the ICC was signed by the Clinton administration but it had concerns about the scope of the court’s jurisdiction.