United States National Security Adviser John Bolton on Monday warned the International Criminal Court against prosecuting its officials for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, Reuters reported. President Donald Trump’s administration also ordered the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington for its attempt to move the court against its ally, Israel.
“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 while addressing conservative group Federalist Society. Measures may include sanctions against the court’s judges if they continue with the proceedings, Bolton said.
The international court is considering prosecuting US servicemen for allegedly abusing detainees in Afghanistan. The US is among several countries that does not recognise the court’s authority. “We will not cooperate with the ICC,” Bolton said. “We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”
The national security adviser said the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office would not impact the US administration’s ongoing Arab-Israeli peace plan.
The Palestine Liberation Organization, however, described the development as pressure tactics from the US. “We reiterate that the rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale, that we will not succumb to US threats and bullying,” Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said in a statement. “Accordingly, we continue to call upon the International Criminal Court to open its immediate investigation into Israeli crimes.”
Israel welcomed Bolton’s statement and alleged that the Palestinians were trying to circumvent the US-sponsored bilateral negotiations by seeking the court’s intervention.