White House expected to warn of sanctions, other penalties if international court moves against Americans

The United States will threaten Monday to punish individuals that cooperate with the International Criminal Court in a potential investigation of U.S. wartime actions in Afghanistan, according to people familiar with the decision.

The Trump administration is also expected to announce that it is shutting down a Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington because Palestinians have sought to use the international court to prosecute U.S. ally Israel, those people said.

.. Bolton is a longtime opponent of the court on grounds that it violates national sovereignty.

.. Bolton is expected to outline a new campaign to challenge the court’s legitimacy as it considers cases that could put the United States and close allies in jeopardy for the first time

.. threat of sanctions or travel restrictions for people involved in prosecuting Americans.

.. One person said Bolton plans to use the speech to announce that the Trump administration will force the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington in a dispute over a Palestinian effort to seek prosecution of Israel through the ICC.

.. Bolton’s announcement is closely related to concern at the Pentagon and among intelligence agencies about potential U.S. liability to prosecution at the court over actions in Afghanistan

.. The Trump administration has questioned whether the ICC has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute U.S. citizens for actions in Afghanistan, because Afghan, U.S. and U.S. military law all could apply in different situations

.. This year, the administration has withdrawn from the United Nations human rights body, halted financial support for a U.N. aid program for Palestinian refugees and threatened to pull out of the World Trade Organization.

.. Three successive U.S. administrations of both political parties have rejected the full jurisdiction of the international court over American citizens, although U.S. cooperation with the court expanded significantly under the Obama administration.

The United States has never signed the 2002 international treaty, called the Rome Treaty, that established the court, which is based in The Hague.

.. it’s going to create the impression the United States is a bully and a hegemon,”

.. efforts to pressure other countries into agreements not to surrender U.S. citizens to the body.

.. prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who last fall asked for permission to formally investigate alleged crimes committed during the Afghan war. That could potentially include actions by U.S. military or intelligence personnel in the detention of terrorism suspects.

.. “America’s long-term security depends on refusing to recognize an iota of legitimacy” of the court, he wrote.

.. The court is also considering a request from Palestinian authorities to probe alleged crimes committed in Palestinian territories, a step that could result in attempts to prosecute Israeli officials.

.. That office serves as a de facto embassy, staffed by an ambassador, to represent Palestinian interests to the U.S. government.

.. The Trump administration contends that the Palestinians violated U.S. law by seeking prosecution of Israel at the ICC. The administration’s initial decision to close the office caused a breach with Abbas that widened in December when Trump announced that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move its embassy there.

.. The Trump administration has not publicly committed to support a separate sovereign Palestine alongside Israel, which was the goal of previous administrations. But like previous U.S. administrations, the Trump White House considers Palestinian efforts to seek statehood recognition through international organizations to be illegitimate.

A verdict of genocide against the Bosnian Serb commander

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia winds up its work

Mr Mladic was a ruddy-faced soldier’s soldier. He did not lead from behind. His troops loved him. He became, and still is, an icon for many Serbs. He saw himself as a defender of the Serbian nation, having taken up the sword as generations before him had done to fight for his people

.. Mr Mladic believed in revenge. During the second world war his father, a communist partisan, died fighting Croatian fascist forces

.. When his troops took Muslim-held Srebrenica in 1995 he notoriously said: “The time has finally come for revenge against the Turks who live in this area.”

.. In the next few days over 7,000 men and boys were murdered in cold blood.

.. The Hague tribunal found him guilty of genocide for the murders carried out at Srebrenica, but not for those in six other Bosnian municipalities where, although the judgment said that war crimes had taken place, it also ruled that they had fallen short of genocide.

..  The trial will have changed no minds. The tribunal sought to bring reconciliation to the region, but in that it failed. It has amassed a huge archive of testimony about every detail of the Yugoslav wars, an extraordinary resource for future historians. Still, the hope had been that if political and military leaders ended up in court for their deeds in wartime, that would discourage future ones from committing such atrocities. From Syria to the ethnic cleansing of Myanmar’s Rohingyas, this has proved to be a pious dream.

.. But more than revenge, they want better schools, health care and jobs, like everyone else. Today’s leaders have nothing more to do than to get on with the boring task of making life better for the citizens of the seven little successor states of the old Yugoslavia that Mr Mladic and his like destroyed.