23:08 GMT +314 November 2018
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    Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md.

    US Vows to Use Any Means to Protect Citizens, Allies From 'Unjust' ICC

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    The US National Security Advisor, who has openly expressed his hostility to the international court on more than one occasion, was expected to declare that it was “dead” to the Trump administration.

    The United States is determined to utilized any tools to defend Americans and citizens of US allies from unjust prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC), US National Security Adviser John Bolton said in Washington, DC on Monday.

    "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 said. "We will not cooperate with the ICC, we will provide no assistance to the ICC, and we certainly will not join the ICC."

    Bolton stated that Washington would consider taking steps in the United Nations Security Council in order to constrain the ICC power.

    "We will consider taking steps in the UN Security Council to constrain the Court’s sweeping powers, including ensuring that the ICC does not exercise jurisdiction over Americans and the nationals of our allies that have not ratified the Rome Statute," Bolton said.

    The official went on saying that the United States will negotiate more bilateral agreements to prohibit countries from surrendering US citizens to the International Criminal Court.

    "We will negotiate even more binding, bilateral agreements to prohibit nations from surrendering US persons to the ICC. And we will ensure that those we have already entered are honored by our counterpart governments," Bolton said.

    The statement doesn't come by surprise: earlier in the day Reuters reported that Bolton would threaten to impose sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) at a speech in Washington to the conservative Federalist Society.

    Reuters, who claims to have obtained a draft of Mr Bolton's speech, report that he will make the threat due to an ICC investigation into possible US war crimes in Afghanistan, an inquiry that the Trump administration strongly opposes.

    Employing surprisingly harsh rhetoric, Bolton will reportedly declare that, "the United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court."

    Additionally, Bolton — who is notorious for his hawkish foreign policy views — will also announce the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's (PLO) offices in Washington due to the group's involvement with an ICC inquiry into alleged Israeli war crimes against civilians in Gaza. "The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel," Bolton will assert. 

    READ MORE: Bolton Claims US, Russia, Israel Want Iran Driven From Syria

    The draft text also reportedly says that the US "will not cooperate with the ICC. We will not provide 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."

    For those who see the ICC as a bedrock of international justice, the news is likely to come as a shock, especially considering that Bolton is expected to propose that the Trump administration place a ban on ICC prosecutors from entering the US. 

    READ MORE: Lawyer on Effectiveness of the ICC: 'In 14 Years, Court Made Only Four Rulings'

    The purpose of the ICC, which has the backing of the UN, is to pursue cases against the perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The US did not sign the Rome Statute that established the ICC in 2002. At the time, President George W. Bush, for whom Bolton served as ambassador to the United Nations, was opposed to the court's mandate.

    Bolton's comments will not mark the first time that he expressed open hostility to international institutions. Back when he was representing the Bush administration as its ambassador to the UN from 2005-06, Bolton once famously declared that, "if the UN secretary building in New York lost 10 storeys, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

    READ MORE: Duterte Spokesman: Philippines' Withdrawal From ICC 'Beginning of End' for Court

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