ICC 'undeterred' after US' threat of sanctions, charges


The U.S. State Department said on Monday that the PLO has not taken steps to support the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with 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", said Bolton, according to The Guardian.

Bolton is also expected to threaten usa sanctions against the International Criminal Court if it moves forward with a probe of alleged Israeli war crimes.

But Bolton said that if ICC prosecutors attempted to do so, the U.S. would target the worldwide court's judges.

The ICC was formally established in 2002, although then-President George W. Bush authorized the U.S.to "un-sign" the Rome Statute and the Senate never ratified it. Bolton suggested the ICC was created to attack USA leadership, not to truly hold egregious worldwide criminals accountable.

Bolton then issued a very clear threat: If the worldwide court continues to pursue the probe, Washington will ban ICC judges from entering the country, prosecute them and sanction their funding.

"The International Criminal Court constituted an assault on the constitutional rights of the American people and the sovereignty of the United States", he said.

That includes a push to have the International Criminal Court investigate Israel for possible war crimes against the Palestinian people.

The PLO has been calling on the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into actions by Israel.

The national security adviser's announcement drew applause from the crowd.

The latest submission came a day after the USA confirmed it would close the PLO's office in Washington, the highest Palestinian representation in the country, amid worsening relations between the two.

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Bolton said the United States would "take note" of other countries' cooperation with the ICC and "will remember that cooperation when settling United States foreign assistance, military assistance, and intelligence sharing levels". Although the USA does not recognize Palestinian statehood, the PLO has maintained in Washington a general delegation office that facilitates Palestinian officials' interactions with the US government.

George W Bush was opposed to its conception and did not ratify the Rome Statute, despite 123 other countries doing so, and Barack Obama also kept it at an arm's length, refusing to officially join.

Liz Evenson, associate worldwide justice director at Human Rights Watch, told AFP news agency that Mr Bolton had shown "callous disregard for victims of atrocity crimes" and that the U.S. was "more concerned with coddling serial rights abusers. than supporting impartial justice".

National Security Adviser John Bolton called the court "illegitimate" and vowed the U.S. would do everything "to protect our citizens".

Trump has promised to pursue the "ultimate deal" between the Palestinians and Israel.

The closure was just the latest move the administration has taken against the Palestinians and in favor of Israel.

While wielding the purported authority to prosecute U.S. citizens, the court combines prosecutorial and judicial powers, and lacks the checks and balances enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

A decision by the Trump administration to shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) diplomatic mission is "worrying" and will only "serve to encourage attempts to destroy a two-state solution" in the Israel-Palestine conflict, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said on September 11.

The move was, not surprisingly, praised in Israel, where a government official said the USA was taking a clear stance against the Palestinian refusal to negotiate.

The US administration has said it's trying a new approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after decades of failed peace talks, chipping away at the Palestinians' key issues as it reshapes US policy. "We will let the ICC die on its own", Bolton said.

In a written statement, ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the decision "is another display of USA losing impartiality on the Middle East peace process".