US Threatens To Arrest ICC-Judges If They Pursue Americans For Afghan War-Crimes

WASHINGTON — The United States threat­ened on Monday to arrest and sanction judges and other officials of the Interna­tional Criminal Court if it moves to charge any American who served in Afghanistan with war crimes.

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton called the Hague-based rights body “unaccountable” and “outright danger­ous” to the United States, Israel and other allies, and said any probe of US service members would be “an utterly unfounded, unjustifiable investigation”.

“If the court comes after us, Israel or other US allies, we will not sit quietly,” Bolton said.

He said the US was prepared to slap fi­nancial sanctions and criminal charges on officials of the court if they proceed against any Americans.

“We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanc­tion their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system,” he added.

“We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Ameri­cans,” he said.

John Bolton made the comments in a speech in Washington to the Federalist Society, a powerful association of legal conservatives.

Detainee abuse

Bolton pointed to an ICC prosecutor’s request in November last year to open an investigation into alleged war crimes com­mitted by the US military and intelligence officials in Afghanistan, especially over the abuse of detainees.

Neither Afghanistan nor any other gov­ernment party to the ICC’s Rome statute has requested an investigation, Bolton said.

He said the ICC could formally open the investigation “any day now”. He also cited a recent move by Palestinian leaders to have Is­raeli officials prosecuted at the ICC for human rights violations.

“The United States will use any means nec­essary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegiti­mate court,” Bolton said.

“We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We cer­tainly will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own.”

The condemnation of the ICC added to the White House’s rejection of many supranation­al institutions and treaties the president does not believe benefit the United States.

Bolton also condemned the record of the court since it formally started up in 2002, and argued that most major nations had not joined.

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