National Security Advisor John Bolton announced the PLO office closure as a part of a Sept. 10 speech that also criticized the ICC. The speech came at a Federalist Society event entitled, "Protecting American Constitutionalism and Sovereignty from International Threats."
"Since its 2002 inception, the Court has spent over $1.5 billion dollars, while attaining only eight convictions. This dismal record is hardly a deterrent to dictators and despots determined to commit horrific atrocities," Bolton said on Monday.
Bolton called the ICC an "unprecedented effort to vest power in a supranational body without the consent of either nation states or the individuals over which it purports to exert jurisdiction."
"As Americans we understand that consent of the governed is a necessary prerequisite to true legitimacy and we reject such a flagrant violation of our national sovereignty," he continued.
In 2002, Bolton, then the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, orchestrated several bilateral agreements aimed at exempting the U.S. from the multilateral treaty that had created the International Criminal Court.
Pope Francis met in Sept. 2017 with the former president of the the International Criminal Court, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, who encouraged the Holy See to consider becoming a party to the ICC treaty, the Rome Statute.
The judge and the pope also discussed the court's investigations and cases for crimes such as the recruitment of child soldiers, sexual violence in conflict, attacks on civilians, and the destruction of religious property.
In Christmas Day, 2017, Pope Francis encouraged prayer for all people in the Middle East.
"We see Jesus in the children of the Middle East who continue to suffer because of growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians," the pope said.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.