Christoph Flügge, a senior judge with the UN International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague got involved with a preliminary investigation into claims that US military service members and CIA operatives tortured prisoners in Afghanistan. The ICC has began investigating claims that at least 61 detained persons in Afghanistan had been tortured by the US troops and another 27 by the CIA at secret prisons in Afghanistan and abroad,
National security adviser John Bolton called the investigation “utterly unfounded” and “unjustifiable,” and promised to “protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.”
He also vowed to defend Israeli citizens from the court. US “friend and ally” Israel was at the time accused of perpetrating war crimes against Palestinian civilians.
Bolton warned that the US would disregard arrest warrants, ban judges and prosecutors from entering the country, and even try them in the US courts.
In 2002 US Congress passed the American Service Members’ Protection Act, which obliged the president to prevent any ICC prosecution of US armed forces “to the maximum extent possible,” and even authorized military force to free any US service members from ICC custody.
Flügge told German newspaper Die Zeit that he handed in his resignation after open threats from US officials.
Flügge told Die Zeit that he had concluded in the wake of the developments that the “diplomatic world” saw no value in an independent judiciary.