International Criminal Court
Full text of John Bolton’s speech to the Federalist Society
10 Sept 2018
…Today, on the eve of September 11th, I want to deliver a clear and unambiguous message on behalf of the president of the United States.
The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.
We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no 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.
The United States bases this policy on five principal concerns about the court, its purported authority, and its effectiveness [extended statement of concerns follows]…
…In April of 2016, it was right here, at the Mayflower Hotel, that President Trump gave his first major foreign policy address during his campaign. At that time, candidate Trump promised he would “always put the interests of the American people and American security above all else”.
Today, it is fitting that we reassert this fundamental promise within these walls. This afternoon, we also make a new pledge to the American people.
“If the court comes after us, Israel or other US allies, we will not sit quietly. We will take the following steps, among others, in accordance with the American Servicemembers’ Protection Act and our other legal authorities:
:: 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 honoured by our counterpart governments.
:: We will respond against the ICC and its personnel to the extent permitted by US law. We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system. We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans.
:: We will take note if any countries cooperate with ICC investigations of the United States and its allies, and we will remember that cooperation when setting US foreign assistance, military assistance, and intelligence sharing levels.
:: 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.
This administration will fight back to protect American constitutionalism, our sovereignty, and our citizens. No committee of foreign nations will tell us how to govern ourselves and defend our freedom. We will stand up for the US constitution abroad, just as we do at home. And, as always, in every decision we make, we will put the interests of the American people first.
The ICC will continue its independent and impartial work, undeterred
11 September 2018
The International Criminal Court (“ ICC” or the “Court”) is aware of the speech delivered on 10 September 2018 by US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, concerning the ICC.
The Court was established and constituted under the Rome Statute, the Court’s founding treaty – to which 123 countries from all regions of the world are party and have pledged their support through ratification –as an instrument to ensure accountability for crimes that shock the conscience of humanity. The Court is an independent and impartial judicial institution.
The Court’s jurisdiction is subject to the primary jurisdiction of States themselves to investigate and prosecute allegations of those crimes and bring justice to the affected communities. It is only when the States concerned fail to do so at all or genuinely that the ICC will exercise jurisdiction.
The ICC, as a court of law, will continue to do its work undeterred, in accordance with those principles and the overarching idea of the rule of law.