United States threatens to arrest ICC judges over war crimes probe

John Bolton to take tough stance against ICC

Her remarks followed reports that President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton, in a speech he is set to deliver on Monday, will threaten ICC officials with financial sanctions and travel bans if they pursue probes targeting the us or Israel, and address the closure of the PLO office.

France and Germany also weighed in to support the Hague-based court after White House National Security Advisor John Bolton said the ICC was "already dead to us".

But the Palestinians were quick to blast the decision, condemning the Trump administration's "policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people", Dr. Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, said in a statement.

The announcement included a warning to the International Criminal Court saying that "this decision is also consistent with the administration and Congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court".

The fate of the Georgetown offices has been in limbo for over a year, ever since the administration discovered it was congressionally obligated to close the diplomatic facility should Palestinian officials target Israel at the International Criminal Court.

The United States launched a blistering verbal attack on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and threatened sanctions against its judges if they proceed with a probe into alleged war crimes by Americans in Afghanistan.

Bolton said the United States remained committed to negotiating a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki visited the ICC in May and called on it to open an immediate investigation. Long-term indulgence of the PLO's recalcitrance has had the effect of allowing a toxic and reflexive anti-Israel sentiment to build in worldwide institutions, not least among academics and students on USA campuses.

The PA shut off contact with the White House after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital a year ago.

Judges and prosecutors with the International Criminal Court (ICC) would be barred from entering the United States and their funds in the U.S. would be sanctioned.

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Tensions in Syria have been running high as the Syrian regime prepares an offensive on the last rebel stronghold of Idlib. He said instead there was a history of Assad's government using such weapons.

Bolton's statements were echoed by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders who insisted President Donald Trump would use all powers vested upon him to protect Americans from what he termed as unjust prosecutions from ICC. "And we certainly will not join the ICC", he said.

Bolton called the ICC "fundamentally illegitimate" and an "assault on the constitutional rights of the United States".

"PLO leadership has condemned a US peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the USA government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise".

Human-rights groups like Amnesty International blasted the United States national security adviser's remarks on Monday.

A Palestinian academic based in the Swiss city of Geneva said the United States move "should not come as a surprise".

"The court was established and constituted under the Rome Statute, the court's founding treaty - to which 123 countries from all regions of the world are party and have pledged their support through ratification - as an instrument to ensure accountability for crimes that shock the conscience of humanity".

The administration also cited the refusal of Palestinian leaders to enter into peace talks with Israel as the reason for closing the Palestinian Liberation Organization office in Washington, although the US has yet to present its plan to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

He emphasized the USA will protect its citizens and not aid the court.

Israel welcomed Bolton's statement and alleged that the Palestinians were trying to circumvent the US-sponsored bilateral negotiations by seeking the court's intervention.

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