US war crime claim ‘staggeringly hypocritical’, congresswoman says — Analysis

Ilhan Omar states that Washington must join an international court to investigate alleged Russian atrocities against Ukraine.

US Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) has reportedly called out a key potential stumbling block in President Joe Biden’s push to have Russia prosecuted for alleged war crimes in Ukraine: Washington isn’t even a member of the international court that would handle the probe.

In order to pursue war crimes and genocide cases, the International Criminal Court was established. It is a court that can be used to hold countries accountable if they refuse to take responsibility for atrocities allegedly perpetrated by their nationals. Biden, along with other Western leaders, accuse Russia and President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine of war crimes. The ICC seems the right entity to investigate the case. The court started investigating the Ukraine conflict just days after Moscow’s February military offensive.

However, as Omar pointed out, even as Washington tries to lead efforts to gather evidence that may be submitted to the ICC and the International Court of Justice, it still hasn’t joined the ranks of nations that are subject to the ICC’s jurisdiction. The treaty-based court was formed under the Rome Statute of 1998, but the US opted against making its military forces subject to the ICC’s jurisdiction. Washington imposed sanctions on the ICC for 2020, as the court was investigating alleged war crimes committed by US forces.

Biden wants ‘war crimes trial’ for Putin

“It would be staggeringly hypocritical to support an investigation into Russia while opposing the court’s very existence as a non-member,”Omar spoke to Business Insider. Omar said that she introduced a bill to join the court on Thursday, stating that the best way for Russia to be investigated would be to participate in the investigation by the international organization.

The ICC is based at Hague and has 123 countries as members. Russia, which has never ratified it, withdrew from the Rome Statute in 2016 after the court declared its annexe of Crimea to be an occupation. China and Israel have also declined to join ICC.

Citizens of non-member states can be prosecuted for crimes allegedly committed in ICC-member countries – a provision the US has never accepted. Washington’s failure to join the court is “the biggest obstacle we have to holding tyrants like Vladimir Putin accountable,” Omar said. “It’s time to join The Hague.”

An entry visa the US had granted to an ICC prosecutor in 2019 was revoked by it. This was reportedly due to her investigation into possible war crimes committed in Afghanistan by American troops and allies. Last week, Senator Lindsey Graham (R. South Carolina) said that the US may be changing its views about the court because of Ukraine.

“I would say this is one of Putin’s bigger accomplishments,” Graham said. “I didn’t think it was possible, but he did it – and that’s for him to rehabilitate the ICC in the eyes of the Republican Party and the American people.”

The US is a party to The Hague Invasion Act. However, it wants The Hague Russia targeted.





Related Articles

Back to top button