U.S. Announces Its Withdrawal from Protocol of Vienna Convention over Jerusalem Embassy Lawsuit
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton (Photo Credit: PTI)

The U.S. has decided to withdraw from the “optional protocol” on disputes resolution of the Vienna Convention, National Security Adviser John Bolton announced on Wednesday. He said this decision comes as the Trump Administration believes that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was interfering and stepping on the U.S's sovereignty citing a Palestinian lawsuit challenging America's move to shift its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as the reason.

"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," he said.

The announcement by the National Security Advisor came soon after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced to terminate the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran after the ICJ held up some of Tehran’s charge against the U.S. based on this treaty.

Citing this ruling, Bolton said that “Iran had made a mockery of the 1955 treaty with its support for terrorism, provocative ballistic missile proliferation and malign behaviour throughout the Middle East.” "In addition to the Treaty of Amity, I am announcing that the president has decided that the United States will withdraw from the Optional Protocol and Dispute Resolution to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations," Bolton said.

Bolton, simultaneously underscored that the U.S. remained a party to the underlying Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and it expects all other parties to abide by their international obligations under the convention.

The top Trump administration official insisted that the two actions were consistent with the decisions former U.S. President Ronald Reagan made in the 1980s in the wake of the politicised suits against the U.S. by Nicaragua to terminate its acceptance of the Optional Compulsory Jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice under Article 36-2 of the ICJ statute, and his decision to withdraw from a bilateral treaty with Nicaragua.

For 40 years, from 1946 to 1986, the United States accepted the general jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in all kinds of cases against other nations that had also agreed to the court's jurisdiction. After an unfavorable ruling from the court in 1986 over the mining of Nicaragua's harbors, the United States withdrew from the court's general jurisdiction.

"It is also consistent with the decision President Bush made in 2005 to withdraw from the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations following the ICJ's interference in our domestic criminal justice system," he said. In 2005, the U.S. withdrew from the “optional protocol” on Consular Relations after the ICJ ruled that American courts to grant "review and reconsideration" to claims that the death row inmates' cases had been hurt by the failure of local authorities to allow them to contact consular officials.

Bolton also said the administration was reviewing all international agreements that could expose it to binding decisions by the International Court of Justice saying it was politicised and ineffective.

This announcement comes barely a month after Bolton had lashed out at the ICJ and said the U.S. will use "any means necessary" to protect its citizens and allies from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The U.S. in May opened its embassy in Jerusalem under a controversial move by President Donald Trump, amid a bloodbath right on the border with Gaza where Israeli soldiers shot dead at least 52 Palestinians in clashes, in the deadliest escalation of violence since 2014.

President Donald Trump announced the decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in December, when he formally recognised the holy city as the capital of Israel, breaking away from decades of U.S. neutrality on the sensitive issue. (With Agency Inputs)