International Criminal Court Vows to Continue Its Work 'Undeterred' by U.S. Sanction Threats

National Security Adviser John Bolton says United States won't allow ICC to 'constrain' Israel's self defense or to investigate U.S. activities in Afghanistan

Reuters
Haaretz
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, Aug. 20, 2018.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, Aug. 20, 2018. Credit: Sebastian Scheiner, AP
Reuters
Haaretz

The International Criminal Court said on Tuesday it would "continue to do its work undeterred" a day after U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton threatened sanctions if the tribunal investigated U.S. activities in Afghanistan.

The Hague-based court said in a statement it was an independent and impartial institution with the backing of 123 countries.

"The ICC, as a court of law, will continue to do its work undeterred, in accordance with those principles and the overarching idea of the rule of law," it said.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said last year there was a "reasonable basis to believe" war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed in Afghanistan and that all sides in the conflict would be examined, including members of the U.S. armed forces and Central Intelligence Agency.

Bolton said on Monday that if such an investigation was launched, the Trump administration would consider banning ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, sanctioning funds they have there and prosecuting them in U.S. courts.

>> Palestinians Ask International Criminal Court to Investigate Israel's 'Grave Crimes'U.S. Announces Closure of Palestinian Diplomatic Mission Over ‘Refusal to Engage With Peace Efforts’

In addition to this announcement, Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Monday that the U.S. will shield Israel from any attempts to investigate its actions by the International Criminal Court. "While the Court welcomes the membership of the so-called 'State of Palestine,' it has threatened Israel—a liberal, democratic nation—with investigation into its actions to defend citizens from terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Gaza", Bolton said.

"There has also been a suggestion that the ICC will investigate Israeli construction of housing projects on the West Bank. The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel", Bolton stated. He added that the United States "will not allow the ICC, or any other organization, to constrain Israel’s right to self-defense."

In addition, Bolton also announced that the Trump administration is shutting down the PLO diplomatic delegation in Washington. A State Department statement said that "the PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel" and that the PLO leadership had instead "condemned a U.S. peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the U.S. government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise."

An Israeli official said that the Palestinians' appeal to the ICC and refusal to negotiate with Israel and the U.S. was not the way to promote peace. “It’s good that the U.S. is taking a clear stance on this matter,” they said.

The Palestinians claim that the Trump administration is biased against them and has fully adopted Israel’s positions, and are saying they will only negotiate under the mediation of a broader international forum.

The United States did not ratify the Rome treaty that established the ICC during the presidency of Republican George W. Bush. Instead, it adopted the American Services-Members' Protection Act, nicknamed the Hague Invasion Act because it authorized the use of any means necessary to free U.S. personnel held by the court.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage