'Dead to us': Trump will ban, arrest International Criminal Court judges

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'Dead to us': Trump will ban, arrest International Criminal Court judges

Bolton said Monday the United States has dismissed the International Criminal Court as "illegitimate" and it will sanction the organization's judges if they pursue an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by American soldiers and intelligence officials in Afghanistan.

In November, the ICC attempted to prosecute US intelligence agents for war crimes in Afghanistan, action that Bolton said is an "utterly unfounded, unjustifiable investigation".

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.

Senior Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi said the United States government was "extremely cruel and spiteful to persist in deliberately bashing the Palestinian people by denying them of their rights, giving away their lands and rightful capital of Jerusalem".

The US, which has been critical of the ICC since it was established, is among dozens of nations not to have joined the court.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has lashed out at the United States for launching a blistering verbal attack on the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying the boorishness of this rogue U.S. regime seems to know no bounds. "We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans", Mr Bolton said.

"And, today, reflecting Congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an ICC investigation of Israel, the State Department will announce the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office here in Washington, D.C".

The PLO denounced the decision to close its Washington offices.

"The United States supports a direct and robust peace process, and we will not allow the ICC, or any other organisation, to constrain Israel's right to self-defence", Mr Bolton said.

In his remarks, Bolton spoke about the efforts made during the George W. Bush administration - where he served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations - to protect Americans from the court's unchecked authority.

The ICC is an independent Hague-based institution that works closely with the U.N.to prosecute war crimes, genocide, and the like.

And despite the expected criticism of the Trump administration's decision Bolton noted the U.S.is part of a majority of court skeptics.

US service members are not the only subjects of a potential investigation for alleged crimes in Afghanistan.

Mr Trump has since pledged to withhold aid from the Palestinians until they return to the negotiating table as his White House seeks to craft a plan for Middle East peace - what he has called the "ultimate deal".

This meeting with the Federalist Society-a group responsible for loading our federal courts with Kavanaugh-type ultra-conservative judges-comes in direct response to the ICC's proposal to investigate American war crimes in Afghanistan.

Israel welcomed the Trump administration's move and accused the Palestinians of seeing the court as a way of sidestepping US-sponsored bilateral talks.

Palestinian leaders say the administration is blatantly biased in favor of Israel and is seeking to blackmail them into accepting the White House's moves.

A Palestinian academic based in the Swiss city of Geneva said the United States move "should not come as a surprise". "We will sanction their funds in the United States financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system", Bolton said.

"This law, which enjoyed broad bipartisan support, authorizes the president to use all means necessary and appropriate, including force, to shield our service members and the armed forces of our allies from ICC prosecution".

Trump has delivered a number of blows to the Palestinians during his time in office.

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