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John Bolton slams International Criminal Court as "illegitimate"

John Bolton
Photo: Oliver Contreras-Pool via Getty Images

National Security Adviser John Bolton tore into the International Criminal Court in a speech to The Federalist Society Monday, casting it as "antithetical to our nation's values" and claiming that the Trump administration will take aggressive steps — including sanctioning and prosecuting the Court's judges — to ensure the U.S. does not provide it with any form of legitimacy.

The big picture: In November 2017, the ICC requested authorization to investigate American service members and intelligence personnel for committing war crimes in Afghanistan. Speaking on the eve of the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Bolton pledged that the U.S. will not let international bureaucrats determine what actions are justifiable when it comes to defending the country from its enemies.

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.
— John Bolton
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