US Adviser Lashes Out At ICC Over War Crimes Probe In Afghanistan

Saul Bowman
September 12, 2018

In November, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said there was a "reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan" since the US-led invasion in 2001.

Afghan rights workers are warning that the USA national security adviser's blistering attack on the International Criminal Court investigating war crimes allegations will strengthen a climate of impunity in Afghanistan, prolong the war and embolden those carrying out acts of violence. He said ICC judges and prosecutors would be banned from coming to the USA, their assets in U.S. jurisdictions frozen and they would face prosecution in the United States.

In its statement, the department says its decision is also consistent with administration and congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court.

In a separate statement, the court's overseeing body, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) also pointed out that the ICC "recognises the primary jurisdiction of States to investigate and prosecute atrocity crimes".

The PLO has been calling on the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into actions by Israel.

Bolton made the announcement in a speech to the Federalist Society, in Washington, DC, on Monday.

According to a draft of the speech seen by Reuters, the Neo-Con ideologue is expected to warn the ICC that the U.S. will fight back using any means necessary if the ICC ever dares to probe an American or Israeli, and will punish those who cooperates with war-crime investigations. The speech came as the USA took a related action by shutting down the Palestine Liberation Organization's office in DC.

The Palestinian Authority vowed to reconsider its cooperation with Israel as it again accused the U.S. of taking sides in the stalled Middle East peace process.

"In secular terms we don't recognize any higher authority than the United States constitution", he said, adding that Trump "will not allow American citizens to be prosecuted by foreign bureaucrats, and he will not allow other nations to dictate our means of self defence".

Liz Evenson, associate global justice director at Human Rights Watch, told AFP news agency that Mr Bolton had shown "callous disregard for victims of atrocity crimes" and that the USA was "more concerned with coddling serial rights abusers. than supporting impartial justice".

"The United States supports a direct and robust peace process, and we will not allow the ICC, or any other organisation, to constrain Israel's right to self defence", he said.

President Donald Trump has shown strong support for Israel and criticized Palestinian leaders for not doing enough to work toward a peace deal.

But Erekat denounced it as an act of blackmail, saying the United States could no longer be a mediator in the conflict.The closure of the office was the latest step in a USA pressure campaign on Palestinian officials as Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is expected to release a peace plan in the coming weeks.

The Trump administration is poised to declare the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague "illegitimate". Israel, like the USA, is not a signatory to the ICC and said the body lacked jurisdiction. Today, he'll say that "for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us". Trump has said that his views have changed since entering the White House and that he would continue the military intervention "as long as we see determination and progress" in Afghanistan.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article