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US senators urge Biden to provide evidence of Russian war crimes to ICC

by The Kyiv Independent March 25, 2023 10:27 AM 2 min read
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U.S. senators from both parties urged U.S. President Joe Biden's administration to share evidence of Russian war crimes with the International Criminal Court in a letter on March 24.

Six senators who signed the letter acknowledged the role of the ICC in investigating Russian war crimes against Ukraine.

Cooperating with international investigations is crucial so that "(Russian President Vladimir) Putin and others around him know in no uncertain terms that accountability and justice for their crimes are forthcoming," the senators wrote.

"Putin's brutality is matched only by the resilience of the Ukrainian people. Just as they need our weapons, humanitarian assistance, and support for their government, they also need American leadership on accountability for those who have perpetrated atrocities against them," the letter reads.

The Pentagon is reportedly blocking the Biden administration from sharing evidence with the ICC in the Hague gathered by American intelligence agencies about Russian atrocities in Ukraine, the New York Times reported on March 8, citing current and former unnamed officials familiar with the matter.

"American military leaders oppose helping the court investigate Russians because they fear setting a precedent that might help pave the way for it to prosecute Americans," the New York Times wrote.

According to the officials, the rest of the administration, including intelligence agencies and the State and Justice Departments, favors giving the evidence to the court.

On March 17, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of over 16,000 Ukrainian children to Russia.

According to the ICC decision, Putin and Lvova-Belova can be arrested in one of the 123 countries that are members of the ICC.

A recent UN report published on March 16 showed that Russia’s war crimes include the willful killings of unarmed civilians, as well as torture, unlawful confinement, rape, and other forms of sexual violence.

Speaking at a justice conference in Lviv on March 3, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv has registered "over 70,000 Russian war crimes" committed in Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin and all his accomplices must receive lawful and fair sentences," he added.

Hague court responds to Russian threats after Putin arrest warrant
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