The US has announced its decision not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, vowing to protect itself and its “friend and ally” Israel from the judicial body. It also threatened sanctions against the “unjust” court.
Announcing the move, US National Security Advisor John Bolton on Monday warned the ICC against continuing its investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Americans in Afghanistan. If the international court continues to pursue the probe, Washington will ban ICC judges from entering the country, prosecute them and sanction their funds, the official said in a speech before the Federalist Society in Washington, DC.
“We will ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, sanction their funds in the United States financial system, and, prosecute them in the United States criminal system,” Bolton raged.
All the US citizens, “operating in the service of the government” anywhere in the world, are subjects to the American justice system only, Bolton said. “On this Earth, we don’t recognize any authority higher than the US constitution.”
Bolton also ripped into the court’s threat to Washington’s “friend and ally” Israel as he referred to the investigation into alleged crimes against Palestinians. The probe into actions of such a “liberal, democratic nation” as Israel is unacceptable, Bolton said. Any countries supporting the investigation and cooperating with the ICC will be subject to secondary sanctions, Bolton warned. He promised to “take notes” of the countries cooperating with the ICC, warning that such behavior will affect their relations with the US and might result in slashing the US aid to such nations.
He then vowed to undertake action in the UN to bar the ICC from prosecuting nationals of any countries that did not ratify the statute of the international body.
Just ahead of Bolton’s speech on the ICC, the US announced its decision to shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in Washington. The move was condemned by the group as yet “another affirmation” of the US policy “to collectively punish the Palestinian people.” Despite the US pressure, Palestine vowed to continue its calls on the ICC to “open its immediate investigation into Israeli crimes.”
In May, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry asked the ICC to launch an inquiry into Israeli “crimes against humanity” and its illegal settlement policies. The alleged crimes of the Israeli government include forcible transfer, demolition of Palestinian homes and killing of peaceful protesters.