Washington D.C., USA : The United States is determined to utilized any tools to defend Americans and citizens of US allies from unjust prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC), US National Security Adviser John Bolton said in Washington, DC on Monday.
John Bolton said the court is “illegitimate” and “for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”
Bolton delivered his remarks Monday to the conservative Federalist Society in Washington.
He says that the court threatens the “constitutional rights” of Americans and U.S. sovereignty.
“No committee of foreign nations will tell us how to govern ourselves.” Bolton said
.The United States will retaliate against the International Criminal Court if it attempts to prosecute any Americans over actions taken in Afghanistan, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said
“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” Bolton said. “We will not cooperate with the ICC, we will provide no assistance to the ICC, and we certainly will not join the ICC.”
Bolton stated that Washington would consider taking steps in the United Nations Security Council in order to constrain the ICC power.
“We will consider taking steps in the UN Security Council to constrain the Court’s sweeping powers, including ensuring that the ICC does not exercise jurisdiction over Americans and the nationals of our allies that have not ratified the Rome Statute,” Bolton said.
The official went on saying that the United States will negotiate more bilateral agreements to prohibit countries from surrendering US citizens to the International Criminal Court.
“We will negotiate even more binding, bilateral agreements to prohibit nations from surrendering US persons to the ICC. And we will ensure that those we have already entered are honored by our counterpart governments,” Bolton said.
Bolton said the US “will not cooperate with the ICC. We will not provide 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.”
“If the court comes after us, Israel or other US allies, we will not sit quietly,” Bolton said.
He said the US was prepared to slap financial sanctions and criminal charges on officials of the court if they proceed against any Americans.
“We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system,” he said.
“We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans,” he said.
For those who see the ICC as a bedrock of international justice, the news is likely to come as a shock, especially considering that Bolton is expected to propose that the Trump administration place a ban on ICC prosecutors from entering the US.
The purpose of the ICC, which has the backing of the UN, is to pursue cases against the perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
The ICC, which is based in the Hague, has a mandate to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
President Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute that established the ICC in 2002, but his successor, George W. Bush, renounced the signature, citing fears that Americans would be unfairly prosecuted for political reasons.
At the time, President George W. Bush, for whom Bolton served as ambassador to the United Nations, was opposed to the court’s mandate.
Bolton’s comments will not mark the first time that he expressed open hostility to international institutions. Back when he was representing the Bush administration as its ambassador to the UN from 2005-06, Bolton once famously declared that, “if the UN secretary building in New York lost 10 storeys, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”
The State Department is also announcing the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington.
The department says that the PLO “has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”
It accuses the Palestinian leadership of condemning a yet-to-be-released Trump administration plan to forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It also contends that the PLO is refusing to engage with the U.S. government on peace efforts.
In its statement Monday, the department says its decision is also consistent with administration and congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court.
The Palestinian leadership accuses the U.S. administration of bias toward Israel. The administration has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cut aid to Palestinians.
Amnesty International USA Calls On The U.S. To Support ICC Victims Of Most Serious Crimes
Reacting to news that John Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, propose that the Trump administration ban International Criminal Court (ICC) judges and prosecutors from entering the US, impose sanctions on any funds they have in the States, and prosecute them in the US court system, Adotei Akwei, Deputy Director Advocacy and Government Relations at Amnesty International USA stated:
“The United States’ attack on the International Criminal Court 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.
“Rather than imposing sanctions, the United States should instead once and for all reaffirm its signature of the Rome Statute establishing the ICC, and support – not impede – its investigations.
“The ICC prosecutes the most serious crimes under international law – genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression. Resuming attacks against the Court sends a dangerous signal that the United States is hostile to human rights and the rule of law.”