Bolton attack on ICC: A le­gal sui­cide by U.S.

Tehran Times - - FRONT PAGE - Mo­ham­mad Ho­maei­far Tehran Times jour­nal­ist

On Sept. 10, John Bolton, the na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor to Don­ald Trump, made a harsh attack against the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice (ICC), call­ing it “il­le­git­i­mate” and a body that it is “dead” for the U.S.

Es­tab­lished in 2002 un­der the Rome Statute, the ICC is the world’s first per­ma­nent court es­tab­lished to pros­e­cute war crimes, crimes against hu­man­ity, and geno­cide.

The threat by Bolton comes as the Hague-based body has said the U.S. armed forces and the CIA might have com­mit­ted war crimes in Afghanistan, and the Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity has asked the ICC chief pros­e­cu­tor to open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged Is­raeli war crimes, crimes against hu­man­ity, and apartheid.

Bolton ap­peared so boor­ish that he said the U.S. will im­pose sanc­tions against the ICC and, where pos­si­ble, pros­e­cute its of­fi­cials if it pro­ceeds with launch­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions. He also threat­ened to im­pose the same sanc­tions on any coun­try that aided the in­ter­na­tional court in its in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

The an­nounce­ment showed that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion feels no shame to say that that the U.S. and Is­rael are ex­cep­tion and above the law.

In view of Bolton it is “self-de­fense” that Is­raeli snipers kill hun­dreds of peo­ple at­tend­ing weekly peace­ful protests in Gaza.

“We will not al­low the ICC or any other or­ga­ni­za­tion to con­strain Is­rael’s right to self-de­fense,” Bolton said in his speech to the Fed­er­al­ist So­ci­ety in Wash­ing­ton.

The attack on the ICC is in line with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s uni­lat­er­al­ism and ha­tred of in­ter­na­tional bod­ies, in­ter­na­tional law, and the in­ter­na­tional le­gal or­der. The new pol­icy an­nounce­ment is only one in a chain of shock­ing and odd be­hav­iors by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the doc­trine adopted by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, cer­tain coun­tries close to the U.S. should feel free to com­mit war crimes.

“If the court comes af­ter us, Is­rael or other U.S. al­lies, we will not sit qui­etly,” Bolton as­serted.

“Other U.S. al­lies” that Bolton refers to are no coun­tries ex­cept Saudi Ara­bia and the UAE which are com­mit­ting war crimes in Ye­men and the most con­crete ex­am­ple of their crime was the tar­get­ing of a school bus on Au­gust 9 with a 227 kilo­gram laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lock­heed Martin.

The re­main­ing U.S. al­lies, es­pe­cially those in Europe even if they can still be con­sid­ered Wash­ing­ton’s al­lies, have been in­volved in no war in the re­cent decades which their ac­tion could be sub­ject to in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the ICC.

David Sch­ef­fer, who es­tab­lished the ICC on be­half of the U.S. and served as the coun­try’s am­bas­sador-at-large for war crimes is­sues, said, “The Bolton speech to­day iso­lates the United States from in­ter­na­tional crim­i­nal jus­tice and se­verely un­der­mines our lead­er­ship in bring­ing per­pe­tra­tors of atroc­ity crimes to jus­tice else­where in the world.”

Liz Even­son, as­so­ciate in­ter­na­tional jus­tice di­rec­tor at Hu­man Rights Watch, told AFP news agency that Bolton had shown “cal­lous dis­re­gard for vic­tims of atroc­ity crimes” and that the U.S. was “more con­cerned with cod­dling se­rial rights abusers... than sup­port­ing im­par­tial jus­tice”.

The il­le­gal and rash poli­cies by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, rang­ing from its re­buke to in­ter­na­tional treaties like the Paris cli­mate agree­ment, its with­drawal from the bind­ing Iran nu­clear pact, mov­ing its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in an open vi­o­la­tion of the rights of Pales­tini­ans and its re­cent harsh at­tacks on the ICC sig­nal noth­ing less than le­gal and po­lit­i­cal sui­cide by Wash­ing­ton and its con­se­quent iso­la­tion in the world.

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