WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday the administration was reviewing all international agreements that could expose it to binding decisions by the International Court of
Justice calling the United Nations’ organ politicized and ineffective.
His announcement came hours after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was terminating a treaty of amity with Tehran, after the court ordered the United States to ensure that sanctions against Iran, due to be tightened next month, do not affect humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety. [L2N1WJ0SV]
The Hague-based court, which is also known as the World Court, handed the victory to Tehran, which had argued that sanctions imposed since May by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump violate the terms of a 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries.
Citing what he called “Iran’s abuse of the ICJ,” Bolton said: “We will commence a review of all international agreements that may still expose the United States to purported binding jurisdiction, dispute resolution in the International Court of Justice. The United States will not sit idly by as baseless politicized claims are brought against us.”
Bolton also said the United States would withdraw from the “optional protocol” that gives the ICJ jurisdiction to hear disputes under the 1961 Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations.
The Vienna Convention is an international treaty setting out diplomatic relations between states. It is often cited as a means to provide diplomatic immunity.
In 2005, the Bush administration took issue with the ICJ after it ruled that the execution of a Mexican national in Texas breached U.S. obligations under international law.
Bolton told a White House briefing that the withdrawal from the so-called “optional protocol” was related to a case brought by the “State of Palestine” in September challenging the recent U.S. embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Palestinians argued that the U.S. government’s placement of its embassy in Jerusalem violated an international treaty and it should be moved.
“This really has less to do with Iran and the Palestinians than with the continued consistent policy of the United States to reject the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, which we think is politicized and ineffective,” Bolton said.
He added: “I’d like to stress the United States remains a party to the underlying Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and we expect all other parties to abide by their international obligations under the convention.”
The ICJ is the United Nations’ venue for resolving disputes between nations. Palestine was recognized by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 as a non-member observer state, though its statehood is not recognized by either Israel or the United States.
Reporting Lesley Wroughton, Roberta Rampton and Tim Ahmann; editing by Tom Brown and Susan Thomas