USA threatens sanctions on ICC, prosecution of officials

National Security Advisor John Bolton visits Kyiv Ukraine on Aug. 24 2018

In his speech, he made familiar arguments against the court, saying that it infringed on American sovereignty, had unchecked power, and was "ineffective, unaccountable, and indeed, outright risky".

Erekat, in his statement, said the Palestinians would press forward to get their case heard at the ICC.

He added that the United States would "not allow the ICC, or any other organisation, to constrain Israel's right to self-defence" or to "defend citizens from terrorist attacks". Israel, like the U.S., is not a signatory to the ICC and said the body lacked jurisdiction.

Bolton said neither Afghanistan nor any other government party to the ICC's Rome Statute has requested an investigation.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert added the decision was also prompted by Palestinian plans to bring charges against Israel for war crimes in the International Criminal Court. 123 nations belong to the organization, which has indicted more than three dozen people during its history.

Bolton, addressing an audience in Washington yesterday, said he wanted to make a "clear and unambiguous message" on behalf of President Trump to use any means necessary to protect American citizens.

In a speech Monday to the Federalist Society, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton made clear the US will push back hard against any ICC investigation involving members of the USA military or the country's allies. There is potential for the U.S. to sanction judges, prosecutors and those who cooperate with such a probe.

He said the administration would consider blocking ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, prevent them from launching legal proceedings, sanction funds and prosecute them in USA courts if they pursue claims against the US.

Trump has pledged to reach the "deal of the century" on Israeli-Palestinian peace but has declined to commit to a two-state solution, for years the focus of global diplomacy.

She said the Taliban and the Afghan National Security Forces, would also be investigated.

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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. "We will negotiate even more binding bilateral agreements to prohibit nations from surrendering USA persons to the ICC", said Bolton.

In November previous year, then U.S. secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, cited a provision in a USA law that meant the PLO mission must close if the Palestinians try to get the worldwide criminal court (ICC) to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians. "We will sanction their funds in the USA financial system, and we will prosecute them in the USA criminal system", Bolton said.

USA officials had hoped that having the office would lead to a lasting peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestine Liberation Organization's office has served as a de facto embassy for the Palestinian people.

National Security Advisor John Bolton threatened sanctions against the International Criminal Court, which Bolton opposed long before joining the Trump administration, and hailed the State Department announcement that the D.C. office of the Palestine Liberation Organization would be shut down.

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

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

In addition, the United States may negotiate more binding, bilateral agreements to prohibit nations from surrendering Americans to the court, says the text.

"Israel supports American actions that are created to make it clear to the Palestinians that refusing to negotiate and attempts to attack Israel in worldwide forums will not advance peace", Netanyahu added.

Similar measures will be taken against any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans, he said.

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