12:00 AM, September 11, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 11, 2018

ALLEGED WAR CRIMES IN AFGHANISTAN

US to take tough stance against ICC

The United States will adopt an aggressive posture against the International Criminal Court, threatening sanctions against ICC judges if they proceed with an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Americans in Afghanistan.

President Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, was set to make the announcement in a midday speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative group, in Washington yesterday. It will be his first major address since joining the Trump White House.

"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.

Bolton will also say that the State Department will announce the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington out of concern about Palestinian attempts to prompt an ICC investigation of Israel.

Bolton's draft speech says the Trump administration "will fight back" if the ICC proceeds with opening an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by US service members and intelligence professionals during the war in Afghanistan.

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.

"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," says Bolton's draft text.