WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will threaten to impose sanctions on the International Criminal Court if it pursues an investigation of American troops in Afghanistan, opening a harsh new attack on an old nemesis of many on the political right.“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our…
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will threaten to impose sanctions on the International Criminal Court if it pursues an investigation of American troops in Afghanistan, opening a harsh new attack on an old nemesis of many on the political right.
“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” according to the text of a speech President Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, plans to deliver on Monday.
“We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the U.S.,” Mr. Bolton will say. “We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and, we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. We will do the same for any company or state that assists in an I.C.C. investigation of Americans.”
Mr. Bolton will also announce that the United States will shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington — a decision linked to the International Criminal Court, which he will say is being prodded by the Palestinians to investigate Israel. The State Department confirmed the shutdown plan Monday.
Mr. Bolton’s hostile words, in what the White House has called his first major address as national security adviser, echo the position he took as a senior official in the George W. Bush administration, when Mr. Bolton emerged as the most virulent foe of the court, which is based in The Hague.
The United States declined to join the court during Mr. Bush’s first term, when Mr. Bolton was an under secretary of state and later ambassador to the United Nations. After he left the Bush administration, the White House showed a little less resistance to the court’s work, even expressing support for its investigation of atrocities in Darfur.
Under President Barack Obama, the United States began helping the court in investigations and shifted to a policy of “positive engagement,” according to Harold Koh, then the State Department’s legal adviser.
Still, the United States never joined the court. And with Mr. Bolton back in power, the White House has swung back to the language of 2002 and 2003. In the text of his speech, he makes familiar arguments against the court, saying that it infringes on American sovereignty, has unchecked power, and is “ineffective, unaccountable, and indeed, outright dangerous.”
“The largely unspoken, but always central, aim of its most vigorous supporters was to constrain the United States,” Mr. Bolton is to say. “The objective was not limited to targeting individual U.S. service members, but rather America’s senior political leadership, and its relentless determination to keep our country secure.”
The announcement that the United States would close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington deepens the rift between the Trump administration and the Palestinians, which opened after Mr. Trump announced he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Mr. Trump later eliminated hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to Palestinian refugees and economic development in the West Bank and Gaza. He recently cut $25 million in funding for hospitals used by Palestinians in East Jerusalem.