US Set To Take Tough Stance Over Afghan War Crime Claims

11 September, 2018, 06:20 | Author: Bert Pena
  • ICC is dead to us’ US to use ‘any means’ to shield citizens & allies from war crime probes

The Trump administration plans to announce on Monday that it is shutting down the Palestine Liberation Organization's office in Washington, D.C., another sign of USA support for Israel and a move that furthers a pressure crusade against Palestine, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday morning.

The Bolton speech today isolates the United States from worldwide criminal justice and severely undermines our leadership in bringing perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice elsewhere in the world....

If such an inquiry goes ahead, the Trump administration will consider banning judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, put sanctions on any funds they have in the US financial system and prosecute them in American courts.

Last November, the ICC prosecutor requested authorization to investigate war crimes and detainee abuse allegations against USA servicemembers and intelligence professionals in Afghanistan.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert added the decision was also prompted by Palestinian plans to bring charges against Israel for war crimes in the International Criminal Court.

He said the ICC could formally open the investigation "any day now". The administration, however, has yet to release its own much-vaunted but largely unknown peace plan although it said it still intends to do so. "Palestinian are disappointed. They have been let down by their occupation, the global community, and their own leaders". And we certainly will not join the ICC. The two-state solution envisions an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, with the boundaries negotiated in talks between the parties.

The ICC is "antithetical" to US ideals, said Bolton.

Even if the ICC was to take up a prosecution of Americans and Israelis, the USA could nix that with its Security Council veto.

Now the pendulum is swinging back with a vengeance, as Bolton labeled the court "illegitimate" and "dead to us".

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He said the PLO leadership has instead "condemned a yet-to-be-seen U.S. peace plan and "refused to engage with the USA government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise". More than 120 countries are members, but the United States, China, and Russian Federation never signed up.

National Security Advisor John Bolton will assert USA opposition to the ICC probe in a speech, a draft of which was seen by the news agency.

Palestinians have reacted with dismay to the USA funding cuts, warning they could lead to more poverty and anger, which are among the factors stoking their decades of conflict with Israel.

On the one hand, the State Department announced Monday that the administration is closing the PLO office in Washington because the Palestinians aren't directly negotiating any peace agreement with Israel. The Trump Administration said then that the PLO's Washington office was at risk of closure.

In the a year ago, ICC has shown signs of being willing to bring cases against the United States for possible war crimes.

The US signed the Rome Treaty that established the International Criminal Court in 2002 but never ratified it. 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.

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser John Bolton discussed the USA refusal to recognize the ICC, which the Palestinians are trying to get to prosecute Israel for war crimes.

The Trump administration cuts its $300 million yearly contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, citing a disproportionate share of the burden and an endlessly expanding recipient pool; Trey Yingst reports from the West Bank. It also threatened sanctions against the "unjust" court.

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