John Bolton threatens ICC with sanctions in virulent attack

US National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks at a press conference in Jerusalem

US National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks at a press conference in Jerusalem

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 USA financial system, and prosecuting them in US courts, it says.

The move on Monday comes amid deteriorating ties between the two sides in the wake of US President Donald Trump's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital a year ago and the relocation of its embassy there. That's not all: "We will sanction their funds in the USA financial system, and we will prosecute them in the USA criminal system", Bolton will say, according to The Wall Street Journal. Refusing to cooperate with the ICC because you think it sets a bad precedent for national sovereignty is one thing.

"We will not cooperate with the ICC", said Bolton, according to Al Jazeera. "We will not join the ICC", Bolton said.

"We will continue to go to the ICC now matter how extreme the bullying and blackmail of the U.S. becomes", Erekat was quoted as saying in the official WAFA news agency. He also said the US would consider restrictions against ICC lawyers or officials involved in efforts to investigate Americans. Under the new stance, countries that aid the court could see reductions in aid and intelligence sharing.

His foreign minister later asked the ICC chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to open an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity, and apartheid.

"Moreover, the largely outspoken, but always central aim of its most vigorous supporters was to constrain the United States".

The State Department said the step - the latest in a series of moves targeting the Palestinians - came after a careful review of the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization office centered on the fact that no "direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel" are underway despite previous warnings.

The Palestine Liberation Organization office served as an embassy in Washington, D.C., for Palestinians. Last September, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for the ICC to investigate and prosecute Israeli officials.

"The United States continues to believe that direct negotiations between the two parties are the only way forward, " Nauert said in her statement.

Palestinian leaders have condemned a decision by Donald Trump to shutter their diplomatic mission to Washington as part of a "cruel and spiteful" campaign they say represents collective punishment against Palestinians.

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said the move was "yet another affirmation of the Trump administration's policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people, including by cutting financial support for humanitarian services including health and education". President Barack Obama sought to develop co-operation with the ICC.

However, ICC prosecutors also have the ability to take independent action, although any prosecutions must be approved by a panel of judges. 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 unsafe".

According to The Hill, he claims his push to prevent the USA from signing on to the ICC is "one of my proudest achievements". Meanwhile, there is no mechanism to hold the court accountable, with countries such as Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo holding votes.

He said it had attained just eight convictions despite spending more than US$1.5 billion (RM6.2 billion), and said that had not stemmed atrocities around the world. The body is also riddled with recent allegations of corruption.

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