In an incredible show of political force, Washington officials are threatening to both arrest and sanction any International Criminal Court judges who attempt to open an investigation into potential war crimes committed by the United States in Afghanistan.
John Bolton, National Security Advisor of the United States, vocalized these threats on Monday. He confirmed that any attempt to charge US service members or intelligence agents with war crimes would lead to immediate sanctions. Bolton explained his directive to protect US citizens from the “unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.”
He further boasted that the U.S. would refuse to cooperate with the ICC. The ICC responded to Bolton’s statements and confirmed they would not be influenced by Washington’s baseless statements. The ICC reiterated its legitimacy as an international court of law, and they also reaffirmed that there is a “reasonable basis” to believe that US officials committed crimes against humanity in the Afghanistan conflict. Several US troops and intelligence officers, who have been in Afghanistan since 2003, are accused of illegally imprisoning and torturing an undisclosed number of victims.
Incredibly, Bolton responded by saying that the US would literally bar ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the country. He boldly stated the country will sanction the ICC’s funds and then turn around to prosecute these individuals in the US criminal system.
The US had initially singed onto the international court, but the country later withdrew its support. More than 120 countries worldwide have signed onto the court. Bolton argues that the ICC should not have a higher authority than the US Constitution, so it is a direct threat to US sovereignty.