Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Trump Administration Will Declare 'Superfluous' International Criminal Court at The Hague 'Illegitimate'

Trump Administration Will Declare 'Superfluous' International Criminal Court at The Hague 'Illegitimate'

John Bolton has always been an outspoken critic of the International Criminal Court.

A day after USA national security adviser John Bolton slammed the International Criminal Court as "illegitimate," the Palestinians on Tuesday filed a war crimes claim against Israel with the body over the expected demolition of a West Bank village.

"The US made the correct decision regarding the PLO mission in Washington", Netanyahu said in a statement posted on his Twitter account. "We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans".

National Security Advisor John Bolton said the U.S. would do everything "to protect our citizens".

It added: "This decision is also consistent with administration and congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the worldwide criminal court". 123 nations belong to the organization, which has indicted more than three dozen people during its history.

In a speech Monday, John Bolton said Washington would not cooperate with The Hague-based court and threatened it with sanctions, saying it put US sovereignty and national security at risk. He added that the Palestine Liberation Organisation's (PLO) office in Washington was being ordered closed out of concern about Palestinian attempts to prompt an ICC investigation of Israel.

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"We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States".

Bolton, one of the most hawkish members of Trump's administration, is expected to make the unprecedented attack on the ICC in what appears to be a pre-emptive threat to block the court from investing war crimes committed by the U.S. during its Afghan campaign as well as to protect its ally, Israel.

Meanwhile, late last month the USA announced it is permanently cutting funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or Unrwa, a primary source of Palestinian financial support for decades.

The United States allowed the PLO to open a mission in Washington in 1994, a move that required then-President Bill Clinton to waive a law that said the Palestinians couldn't have an office. More than 120 countries are members, however, the U.S., Russian Federation and China never signed onto the court - with then-President George W. Bush opposed to its establishment.

Judges and prosecutors with the International Criminal Court (ICC) would be barred from entering the United States and their funds in the U.S. would be sanctioned.

The U.S. plans to close the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington in its latest show of support for the U.S-Israel relationship.

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It was a predictable step for an "America First" administration that does not acknowledge global institutions, treaties, or norms as reflecting USA values or interests.

The U.S. on September 10 announced the closure of the PLO's Washington diplomatic mission as the Trump administration prepares to roll out its Middle East peace plan.

Reuters got their hands on an advanced copy of Bolton's speech, and it includes threats of sanctions against ICC judges and prosecutors, as well as a promise to "fight back"-whatever that means".

According to Al Jazeera, the ICC claimed in 2016 that US soldiers and Central Intelligence Agency operatives used torture against detainees in Afghanistan, primarily between 2003 and 2004.

"In secular terms we don't recognise any higher authority than the United States constitution", he said.

He also condemned the court's record since it formally started up in 2002, and argued that most major nations had not joined. It was founded in 2002 by the Rome Statute, but America under George W. Bush (and later Obama) never ratified the agreement.

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