04:52, September 10 351 0 theguardian.com

2018-09-10 04:52:11
John Bolton to castigate ICC in Washington speech

The US national security adviser, John Bolton, will adopt an aggressive posture against the international criminal court (ICC), threatening sanctions against its judges if they proceed with an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Americans in Afghanistan.

Bolton is to make the announcement to the Federalist Society, a conservative group, in Washington on Monday. It will be his first major address since joining Donald’s Trump White House.

“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 will say, according to a draft of his speech.

He will also say that the state department will announce the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington out of concern about Palestinian attempts to prompt an ICC investigation of Israel.

The PLO office in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel,” Bolton’s draft text states. It says the Trump administration “will fight back” if the international criminal court, which is based in The Hague in the Netherlands, formally proceeds with opening an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by US service members and intelligence professionals during the war in Afghanistan.

If such an inquiry proceeds, the Trump administration will consider banning judges and prosecutors from entering the US, put sanctions on any funds they have in the US financial system and prosecute them in the American court system.

“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,” Bolton’s draft text states.

In addition, the US may negotiate more binding, bilateral agreements to prohibit countries from surrendering Americans to the Hague court, the text says.

The court’s aim is to bring to justice the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The US did not ratify the Rome treaty that established the court in 2002, with then-President George W Bush opposed to the court. President Barack Obama took some steps to cooperate with the organisation.

“We will consider taking steps in the UN security council to constrain the court’s sweeping powers, including to ensure the ICC does not exercise jurisdiction over Americans and the nationals of our allies that have not ratified the Rome statute,” Bolton’s draft text says.