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Bolton To Set Out Tough U.S. Stance On International Criminal Court

10 Sep 2018 Radio Free Europe

The United States will threaten to impose sanctions on International Criminal Court (ICC) judges if they go ahead with an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by U.S. personnel in Afghanistan, Reuters reports.

Reuters cited a draft of a speech that President Donald Trump's national-security adviser, John Bolton, is set to make at the conservative Federalist Society in Washington on September 10.

"The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court," Reuters quoted Bolton as saying in the draft.

It quoted him the draft text as saying the Trump administration "will fight back" if the ICC formally proceeds with opening an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by U.S. service members and intelligence professionals during the war in Afghanistan.

The United States will consider prohibiting judges and prosecutors from with the court in The Hague from entering the United States, imposing sanctions on any funds they have in the U.S. financial system, and prosecuting them in U.S. courts, it says.

"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," the draft text says.

It also says the United States may seek more bilateral agreements that would prohibit individual nations from surrendering Americans to the ICC.

Bolton will also say that the State Department will announce the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington, citing concern about Palestinian efforts to prompt an ICC investigation of Israel, Reuters reported.

It said 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," it quoted Bolton's draft text as saying.

Under President George W. Bush, the United States did not ratify the Rome Treaty that established the ICC in 2002.

The purpose of the court is to bring perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide to justice.

With reporting by Reuters

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