America has never had a good standing relationship with the International Criminal Court; however, the latest words from John Bolton have virtually ended the relationship in its entirety.
National Security Adviser John Bolton denounced the legitimacy of The Hague-based court, which was initially created to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity such as genocide in areas where perpetrators might not otherwise face justice.
123 state parties recognize the court’s jurisdiction, but the United States has formally rejected its authority.
The rebuke by John Bolton came on the eve of September 11th, 2018 and also just as an ICC judge was expected to announce a decision on a request from prosecutors to formally open an investigation into allegations of war crimes committed by Afghan national security forces. The accusations against U.S personnel include torture and illegal imprisonment.
John Bolton stated that “the International Criminal Court unacceptably threatens American sovereignty and U.S. national security interests.”
In response to the US’s actions Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated;
“The US threatens to impose sanctions on the ICC & even prosecute its judges in American courts. Where is the outrage?” he wrote on his Twitter account. “The boorishness of this rogue US regime seems to know no bounds. When will the international community say enough is enough & force US to act like a normal state?”
The Clinton administration in 2000 signed the Rome Statute which created the ICC, and in 2001 the Bush administration promoted and passed the American Service Members Protection Act which sought to immunize US troops from potential prosecution by the ICC.
However, in Bush’s second term, he expanded the cooperation with the court as the world watched in horror at the genocide being committed in Sudan’s western Darfur region.
Obama further expanded this cooperation and offered additional support to the ICC as it investigated the then-Uganda-based Lord’s Resistance Army and its top leadership.
On Monday Bolton boldly declared a virtual end to the relationship; “the ICC is an unprecedented effort to vest power in a supranational body without the consent of either nation-states or the individuals over which it purports to exercise jurisdiction,” Bolton said. “It certainly has no consent whatsoever from the United States.”
Incredibly, the International Court could have essentially overridden American sovereignty and grant an international body authority over US leadership, in addition, the court could have prosecuted US soldiers.
Bolton’s rebuke of such is a sign that America is returning to the sovereign nation it once was.