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1. The following are excerpts from a news report by AFP-JIJI, AP dated September 11, 2018 under the headline "U.S. threatens to arrest ICC judges who probe Americans for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan".|
WASHINGTON – The United States threatened 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 U.S. service members would be “an utterly unfounded, unjustifiable investigation.”
“We will not cooperate with the ICC,” Bolton said, adding that “for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”
He said the U.S. 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 U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system,” he said.
“We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans,” he said.
Bolton made the comments in a speech in Washington to the Federalist Society, a powerful association of legal conservatives.
Bolton pointed to an ICC prosecutor’s request in November 2017 to open an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by the U.S. military and intelligence officials in Afghanistan, especially over the abuse of detainees....
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....
But Bolton said the main objection of the administration of President Donald Trump is to the idea that the ICC could have higher authority than the U.S. Constitution and U.S. sovereignty.
“In secular terms we don’t recognize any higher authority than the U.S. Constitution,” he said.
“This president will not allow American citizens to be prosecuted by foreign bureaucrats, and he will not allow other nations to dictate our means of self-defense.”
It was an extraordinary rebuke decried by human rights groups who complained it was another Trump administration rollback of U.S. leadership in demanding accountability for gross abuses.
“Any U.S. action to scuttle ICC inquiries on Afghanistan and Palestine would demonstrate that the administration was more concerned with coddling serial rights abusers — and deflecting scrutiny of U.S. conduct in Afghanistan — than supporting impartial justice,” said Human Rights Watch.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents several people who claim they were detained and tortured in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2008 and could be victims or witnesses in any ICC prosecution, said Bolton’s threats were “straight out of an authoritarian playbook.”
“This misguided and harmful policy will only further isolate the United States from its closest allies and give solace to war criminals and authoritarian regimes seeking to evade international accountability,” the ACLU said.... (End excerpts)