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Trump administration to threaten ICC judges with sanctions, prosecution

National Security Advisor John Bolton visits Kyiv Ukraine on Aug. 24 2018

He said the US will ban the ICC's court judges from the country and enforce sanctions against any nation cooperating with them if they continue to prosecute America or its allies.

The United States is not a member of the global tribunal that is based in the Netherlands, but American citizens can still face prosecution if they commit war crimes in one of the court's member states, which includes Afghanistan.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas halted ties with the Trump administration in December after the US recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital. "The Palestinians' resort to the ICC and refusal to negotiate with Israel and the United States is not the way to advance peace, and it is good that the United States is taking a clear stand on this matter", said an Israeli official who requested anonymity. "We will let the ICC die on its own", Bolton said.

Amnesty International official Adotei Akwei immediately rebuked the us position, saying its rejection of the ICC's legitimacy "is an attack on millions of victims and survivors who have experienced the most serious crimes under international law and undermines decades of groundbreaking work by the international community to advance justice".

But Erekat denounced it as an act of blackmail, saying the United States could no longer be a mediator in the conflict.The closure of the office was the latest step in a U.S. pressure campaign on Palestinian officials as Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is expected to release a peace plan in the coming weeks.

"We reiterate that the rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale, that we will not succumb to USA threats and bullying", Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said in a statement.

"We reiterate that the rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale, that we will not succumb to USA threats and bullying", Erekat said in a statement.

In announcing the closure, the State Department said it was "consistent with" concerns about Palestinian calls for an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court.

"It is ironic that the United States is punishing the PLO, the national representative of the Palestinian people and the highest political body that made the commitment to reaching a political and legal settlement of the Palestinian question and that has engaged in negotiations with successive USA administrations for decades", said Ashrawi, a PLO executive committee member.

The head of the PLO delegation to the USA accused the Trump administration of "dismantling decades of US vision and engagement in Palestine".

A protester takes part in a demonstration against the USA funding cut to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, in the Ramallah, the occupied West Bank, last week. Countries that cooperate with ICC prosecutions against the United States and its allies risk losing foreign aid.

The US is among dozens of nations not to have joined the court, founded in 2002. At that time, at the direction of then-President George W. Bush, the US unsigned the statute that created the court.

Bolton said on Monday that the USA will impose sanctions on court officials who attempt to investigate either the United States or Israel.

He also plans to threaten to impose sanctions against the International Criminal Court if it moves ahead with investigations of the us and Israel, the paper said. It's one of several complaints by Palestinians to the ICC and the legal body is coming under increasing pressure to open an investigation against Israel.

"W$3 e will remember that cooperation when setting US foreign assistance, military assistance and intelligence-sharing levels", Bolton said. He said ICC judges and prosecutors would be banned from coming to the USA, their assets in US jurisdictions would be frozen and they would face prosecution. Bush's Democratic successor, Barack Obama, took some steps to cooperate with it.

The US, Erekat said, seems "willing to disband the worldwide system in order to protect Israeli crimes and attacks against the land and people of Palestine".