US war crime claim ‘staggeringly hypocritical’ - Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar thinks Washington needs to join an international court if it wants to look into the war in Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden's campaign to have Russia punished for suspected war crimes in Ukraine has apparently hit a stumbling block, according to US Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota). The United States isn't even a member of the international court that would oversee the investigation.
When a country refuses to investigate atrocities allegedly perpetrated by its citizens, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established expressly to prosecute such important cases as war crimes, including genocide.
The ICC is the appropriate organization to take up the case, with Biden and other Western officials accusing Russia and President Vladimir Putin of war crimes in Ukraine. The court began looking into the Ukraine war just a few days after Moscow launched its military operation in February.
Even as it tries to lead efforts to acquire evidence that can be brought to the ICC and the International Court of Justice, as Omar pointed out, Washington has yet to join the ranks of governments subject to the ICC's jurisdiction.
In 2020, the US unilaterally sanctioned the ICC because the court was investigating suspected war crimes committed by US forces in Afghanistan.
“It would be staggeringly hypocritical to support an investigation into Russia while opposing the court’s very existence as a non-member,” Omar told Business Insider. On Thursday, she filed a measure to join the court, claiming that joining the international body that will conduct the investigation is the best way to support it.
Virtually all of Europe & South America, along with Canada, Japan, & most of Africa are party to the ICC.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) April 14, 2022
The US - and Russia! - are not.
It’s the biggest obstacle we have to holding tyrants like Vladimir Putin accountable.
It’s time to join The Hague.https://t.co/Vm1DsRfYus
An ICC prosecutor's entry visa was canceled by the US in 2019, apparently because she was examining possible war crimes committed by US forces and their allies in Afghanistan. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) warned the New York Times last week that the situation in Ukraine may affect US views of the court.
“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.”
Moreover, earlier France's President Emmanuel Macron declined to label Russia's actions in Ukraine as a "genocide" in an interview with the French TV channel France 2.
In the interview on Wednesday, Macron said verbal attacks would not help further peace in Ukraine.
Macron declined to join his US counterpart in describing Russia's actions as genocide. When asked about the characterization, he said he would "be careful with such terms" and that the peoples of Ukraine and Russia were "brothers."