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Trump administration threatens sanctions against ICC over in Afghan war crimes probe

Date of publication: 10 September, 2018

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Trump's National Security adviser John Bolton is taking an aggressive approach to the Hague court over its plans to prosecute Americans who allegedly committed war crimes during the war.
The US has threatened sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, if judges continue with an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Americans in Afghanistan.

Ultra-hawk National Security adviser John Bolton is set to announce on Monday the US will "fight back" if the ICC proceeds with an investigation into alleged violations committed by US service members and intelligence staff during the war in Afghanistan.

"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 will say, according to a draft of his speech seen by Reuters.

The aggressive stance pursued by the US includes banning judges and prosecutors from entering the country, slapping sanctions on any funds they have in the US financial system and prosecute them in the American court system.

"We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us," Bolton's draft speech says.

Read more: Trump's failures in Afghanistan

Washington also wants to negotiate deals so that other nations cannot force Americans to surrender to the court.

The US did not ratify the Rome Treaty which established the Hague court in 2002, although President Donald Trump's predecessor Barack Obama did make attempts to cooperate with the institution.

"We will consider taking steps in the UN Security Council to constrain the court's sweeping powers, including to ensure that the ICC does not exercise jurisdiction over Americans and the nationals of our allies that have not ratified the Rome Statute," Bolton will tell the conservative Federalist Society.

The grinding conflict in Afghanistan is Washington's longest running war, that began with the US-led invasion 17 years ago that ousted the Taliban from power.

To date, an estimated total of 110,000 Afghans have died in the conflict.


Although President Trump repeatedly indicated before he was president that he opposed the war and wanted to end it, he has instructed US military forces to take more aggressive action.


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