Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

US to close Palestine mission in Washington

US'threatens ICC judges with sanctions The United States is expected to adopt an aggressive posture against the International Criminal Court
Glenn Montgomery | 11 September, 2018, 06:20

The State Department added that the decision to close the PLO offices is consistent with concerns within the administration and in the U.S. Congress. Issues of concern include Palestinian attempts to get the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take legal action against Israel.

Bolton admitted that "in theory, the ICC holds perpetrators of the most egregious atrocities accountable for their crimes, provides justice to the victims, and deters future abuses".

But Bolton said that if ICC prosecutors attempted to do so, the United States would target the global court's judges. Last November Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas used his speech at the United Nations to call for the investigation and prosecution of Israeli officials by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"We will take note if any countries cooperate with ICC investigations of the United States and its allies, and we will remember that cooperation when setting USA foreign assistance, military assistance, and intelligence sharing levels", he said. The national security adviser said it was no coincidence he made his speech on the ICC one day before the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. The group has also condemned an American peace plan that has yet to be released.

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 US Constitution and US sovereignty. We will certainly not join the ICC.

The court "has been ineffective, unaccountable, and indeed outright dangerous", he said.

"Rather than imposing sanctions, the United States should instead once and for all reaffirm its signature of the Rome Statute establishing the ICC, and support - not impede - its investigations".

The Palestinians said they were undeterred from going to the ICC. The administration was largely successful in its effort, getting more than 100 countries to sign the agreements.

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. It said the decision was also in line with USA law, a reflection of congressional concerns and consistent with US policy to oppose and punish Palestinian attempts to bring Israel before the ICC.

The United States isn't a party to the ICC and Congress granted authority to USA presidents in 2002 to use any means necessary, including the use of force, to protect US citizens from prosecution by the court.

In rejecting the legitimacy of the war-crimes court, the White House is further dismantling the globalist legacy of President Barack Obama.

Bolton also referenced a potential ICC investigation of Israel for its activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as impetus for his remarks, during which he also announced the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization's office in Washington, DC.

The ICC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zomlot added the Trump administration was punishing Palestinian leaders for pursuing a war crimes investigation into Israel at the International Criminal Court where it has submitted dossiers on alleged Israeli crimes against humanity. But Palestinian officials view the new administration as biased in Israel's favor - and have cut contact with it.

Closing the PLO office in D.C. means the Palestinians will not have a formal diplomatic presence in the US capital.

The US has threatened sanctions against the International Criminal Court if it goes ahead with prosecutions against Americans.

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