Bolton calls ICJ 'politicised', pulls US out of international accords

john-bolton-reuters US National Security Advisor John Bolton answers a question from a reporter about how he refers to Palestine during a news conference in the White House briefing room in Washington | Reuters

Calling the International Court of Justice as "politicised and ineffective", US National Security Adviser John Bolton pulled the country out of two international agreements. The action came after Iran and the Palestinians complained to the International Court of Justice about US policies.

Earlier on Wednesday the ICJ handed a victory to Tehran, ordering the United States to ensure that sanctions against Iran, due to be tightened next month, do not affect humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety.

The Palestinians had challenged the US move of its Israel embassy to Jerusalem. "This is in connection with a case brought by the so-called state of Palestine naming the United States as a defendant, challenging our move of our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," Bolton told reporters at the White House.

Bolton announced that the US would review all international agreements that could expose it to binding decisions by the ICJ.

Bolton said the United States was leaving the 1961 Optional Protocol and Dispute Resolution to the Vienna Convention, which establishes the International Court of Justice as the "compulsory jurisdiction" for disputes unless nations decide to settle them elsewhere.

The court, based in The Hague, in the Netherlands, has long been the United Nation's venue for resolving disputes between nations. In the complaint, Iran had claimed that the US sanctions imposed in May by the Trump administration violated the terms of their 1955 Treaty of Amity. Washington responded by pulling out of the treaty, a little-known agreement that was signed long before Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution that turned the two countries into arch enemies.

The United States will still remain part of the underlying convention that established the International Court of Justice and "we expect all other parties to abide by their international obligations" on it, Bolton said.

In the nearly two years since being elected, President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from a nuclear agreement between six powers and Iran, pulled out of a global climate accord, left the UN cultural agency, and threatened NATO military allies that the United States would “go its own way” if members did not spend more on defense.

“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,” Bolton said on Wednesday. “The United States will not sit idly by as baseless politicized claims are brought against us.”