Top UN judge resigns citing 'shocking' interference from Trump admin, Turkey

Top UN judge resigns citing 'shocking' interference from Trump admin, Turkey
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A senior United Nations judge who worked in one of the body's international courts in The Hague is reportedly resigning over "shocking" political interference from the Trump administration and Turkey. 

The German judge, Christoph Flügge, accused the U.S. of threatening other judges after steps were taken to investigate U.S. soldiers' conduct in Afghanistan, according to The Guardian. He also claimed that Turkey's government made "baseless" accusations against a Turkish judge in order to end his tenure at a U.N. court. 

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Turkish Judge Aydın Sefa Akay was removed from the court after facing allegations that he had links to Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based cleric whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has blamed for a failed 2016 coup attempt. 

“Turkey applied its veto against Judge Akay,” Flügge said, according to The Guardian. “We, the other judges, immediately protested. But his tenure was nevertheless not extended by the U.N. secretary general. And with that, he’s gone.”

Flügge, who had been a permanent judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia since 2008, added that the U.N.'s failure to react to recent actions by Turkey has set a troubling precedent. 

“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.”

The former judge also called out U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, condemning him for some of the past comments he made about the International Criminal Court. 

“John Bolton, the national security adviser to the US president, held a speech last September in which he wished death on the International Criminal Court,” he said.

“If these judges ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the US or investigate an American citizen, he said the American government would do all it could to ensure that these judges would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States – and that they would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted."

He said that he and other judges on the court were "stunned" by Bolton's statement. 

“It is consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No. 1 and we stand above the law,’ ” he added.