USA threatens sanctions against ICC


President Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, is to make the announcement in a midday speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative group, in Washington, in which he will express deep hostility to the world body, by telling the organisation that it is "dead to [us]".

The United States is set to adopt a more aggressive posture against the International Criminal Court, threatening sanctions against ICC judges if they proceed with an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Americans in Afghanistan.

That's not all: "We will sanction their funds in the USA financial system, and we will prosecute them in the USA criminal system", Bolton will say, according to The Wall Street Journal. In particular, it says the ICC lacks jurisdiction because Israel is not a member of the court. But she stressed the need for the Palestinians to join US-backed peace negotiations.

The ICC was established by the Rome Statute in 2002, but the United States did not ratify it as President George W Bush opposed the body. "We will let the ICC die on its own", Bolton said. He also said the US would consider restrictions against ICC lawyers or officials involved in efforts to investigate Americans.

Akwei said the USA should sign the Rome agreement creating the court and "support, not impede, its investigations".

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.

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"We have permitted the PLO office to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians since the expiration of a previous waiver in November 2017", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. The Obama administration had expanded cooperation with the court after former President George W. Bush signed a 2002 law that prohibits all government entities from cooperating with it, and authorizes the president "to use all means necessary" to force the release of any US or allied person detained by or on behalf of the court.

"This was not a speech of strength whatsoever", said Ambassador David Scheffer, who led the USA negotiating team during United Nations talks on the International Criminal Court in the late 1990s, and who was authorized by President Clinton to sign the Rome Statute establishing the ICC in 1998.

Giving his reasons for opposing the court, Mr Bolton cited the threat to "American sovereignty and United States national security".

He said the USA would take action against any countries or companies that cooperated with the ICC during the Afghanistan investigation.

The ICC declared in a statement that it would continue to investigate war crimes "undeterred" by the the Trump administration's threat of sanctions against its judges. "So we thought it important to give notice that the USA and the Trump administration has a very different view of the ICC, certainly [than] how it was viewed by the Obama administration".

It was Bolton's first major address since joining the Trump administration.

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The United States says the offices of the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington should close.

During his speech, Bolton said this move was linked to concerns in Washington over Palestinian attempts to see Israel punished for alleged crimes in the ICC.

The Trump administration said it took the decision because Palestinian leaders were allegedly refusing to take part in talks with Israel.

A Palestinian academic based in the Swiss city of Geneva said the U.S. move "should not come as a surprise".

In rejecting the legitimacy of the war-crimes court, the White House is further dismantling the globalist legacy of President Barack Obama.

US officials had hoped that having the office would lead to a lasting peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian Authority officials have said they plan on doing just that in the coming weeks.

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