The Biden White House and State Department have long supported cooperation with the Hague-based ICC as a way to hold Russian forces accountable for widespread war crimes, but the Defense Department opposes it, insisting it could set a precedent against American soldiers.
he New York Times He cites current and former officials who say Pentagon resistance is an obstacle. It reports that the National Security Council (NSC) convened a high-level meeting on February 3 to resolve the dispute, but Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin did not move. Joe Biden has not yet made a final decision.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, the sponsor of a congressional resolution seeking US support for the Ukraine tribunal, also blames the Pentagon.
“Dod [Departamento de Defensa] opposed the legislative change – approved by an overwhelming majority – and now they are trying to undermine the letter and spirit of the law,” Graham said in statements confirmed to the US newspaper. guardian for his office. “It seems to me that the DoD is the problem here, and the sooner we get the information in the hands of the ICC, the better for the world.”
Speaking on the issue, NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said: “Russian forces are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian people deserve justice.”
“The United States supports various investigations to identify and hold accountable those responsible, including through expert missions created within the framework of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, the United Nations, and the OSCE Moscow Mechanism. [Organización para la Seguridad y la Cooperación en Europa]And by the way, the International Criminal Court,” says Watson.
A senior defense official simply says, “The Department of Defense believes we should hold Russia accountable.”
USA and ICC
American legal experts helped draft the Rome Statute that created the ICC. It was signed by Bill Clinton in 2000, but the Senate failed to ratify it, and Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush, took the unusual step of withdrawing the American signature.
American critics of the court argued that enemies of the United States could use it to try American soldiers fighting in foreign wars, despite guarantees in the statute that an international court would have jurisdiction only if the courts of the suspect’s country of origin were present. Unwilling or unable to prosecute.
In February, at the Munich Security Conference, Kamala Harris announced that the United States had determined that Russia had committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine. The vice president added that Washington “continues to support the Ukrainian trial and international investigations because justice must be served.”
Harris did not elaborate on cooperation with the ICC, but last week, Beth Van Schaak, the US ambassador for global criminal justice, told a conference in Lviv: “The International Criminal Court has an important place in the international justice ecosystem, and the United States supports the ICC prosecutor’s investigation.” “.
Source: El Diario