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U.N. judge resigns, alleging 'shocking' U.S. threats

A German United Nations judge named Christoph Flügge has resigned from his role at The Hague, alleging "shocking" meddling in the United Nations' judicial integrity by the United States and Turkey.

Flügge referenced a September speech in which National Security Adviser John Bolton threatened sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC) should it move forward with a proposed investigation of alleged American war crimes in Afghanistan. For "all intents and purposes," Bolton said at the time, "the ICC is already dead to us."

These "American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate," Flügge said. "It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat. ... It is consistent with the new American line: 'We are number one, and we stand above the law.'"

Flügge also cited actions by Turkey to end the tenure of a Turkish U.N. judge as part of his resignation rationale, describing it as a source of permanent damage to the United Nations' judicial legitimacy. "Every incident in which judicial independence is breached is one too many," he said. "Now there is this case, and everyone can invoke it in the future. Everyone can say: 'But you let Turkey get its way.' This is an original sin. It can't be fixed."