'Dead to us': Trump will ban, arrest International Criminal Court judges

'Dead to us': Trump will ban, arrest International Criminal Court judges

'Dead to us': Trump will ban, arrest International Criminal Court judges

The Hague-based court investigates genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes and is backed by 123 countries - but not by China and the US.

In announcing the closure, the State Department said it was "consistent with" concerns about Palestinian calls for an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court.

National security adviser John Bolton calls on a reporter during a news conference after speaking at a Federalist Society luncheon at the Mayflower Hotel, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in Washington.

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

The US, which has been critical of the ICC since it was established, is among dozens of nations not to have joined the court.

The Palestinian Authority vowed to reconsider its cooperation with Israel as it again accused the USA of taking sides in the stalled Middle East peace process. He warned the ICC, which the USA hasn't joined, that it could face penalties if it "comes after us, Israel or other U.S. allies".

The ICC was established by the Rome Statute in 2002, but the United States did not ratify it as President George W Bush opposed the body.

"We will sanction their funds in the USA financial system, and we will prosecute them in the USA criminal system", Mr. Bolton adds.

For a long time the ICC has been condemned for its one-sided prosecution of Third World leaders accused of such crimes.

In a speech in Washington, Mr Bolton said: "If the court comes after us, we will not sit quietly".

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The US administration has said it will refuse to help worldwide prosecutors in any way with their investigations into alleged war crimes.

On Monday, Bolton had threatened ICC judges with imposing sanctions if they proceed with a probe into reported war crimes by the United States in Afghanistan.

USA officials "believe that Palestinians can be convinced that they have lost and must take whatever set of arrangements - perhaps some limited form of autonomy with economic sweeteners - that they are offered", says Michele Dunne, a researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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The United States is not a member of the global tribunal that is based in the Netherlands, but American citizens can still face prosecution if they commit war crimes in one of the court's member states, which includes Afghanistan.

The Trump administration has ordered the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington because the PLO "has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel", the State Department said Monday.

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

The Trump administration notified the Palestinians last November it would shutter their Washington office unless they entered serious peace talks with Israel. While Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, Bolton led a campaign against the ICC. The ICC chief prosector "shared confidential court documents with Angelina Jolie-I can't imagine why", he said.

South Africa was a founding member of the ICC, and initially a strong supporter of the court.

After becoming president in January 2009, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, vowed to end the Afghan war - one of the longest conflicts in USA history - but he failed to keep his promise.

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