Russia is a member of the International Criminal Court. America does not
US President Joe Biden joined the global outcry over the targeted massacre of civilians in Bucha over the weekend, demanding a “War Crimes Trial” to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a press conference on Monday.
He went on to mention the need to “Collect information” and “Get all the details” front “An actual trial…war crimes.”
This comes as the US seeks to suspend Russia’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council “In response to allegations that Russian forces committed war crimes in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, announced Monday, calling on the 140 countries that voted last month to condemn Russia’s military activity in Ukraine. “Combine our words with actions.”
The International Criminal Court (ICC) opened an investigation in March into alleged war crimes and other crimes committed during Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine, “A reasonable basis has been found to believe that a crime within the Court’s jurisdiction has been committed,” ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement released at the time.
Graphic footage from Bucha, a town northwest of Kiev, that emerged over the weekend showed bodies in civilian clothes scattered around. Kiev was quick to blame Russian forces. Moscow explicitly denies involvement and claims the incident was staged for the benefit of the Western media, with Russia’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Security Council, Dmitry Polyansky, calling it Is one “The blatant provocation of Ukrainian extremists.”
Despite Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s pleas “Serious skepticism” and many inconsistencies that led to doubts about the veracity of the evidence, American officials from both sides rejected Kiev’s claims and accused Russian forces of “War Crimes,” with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) and ranking Republican member Jim Risch (R-Idaho) calling for “accountability” and singled out Putin as the person responsible. Last month, the US Senate passed a resolution to designate the Russian president as a war criminal.
However, the United States is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, a 2002 treaty that established the organization as the “A permanent International Criminal Court independent in relation to the United Nations system, with jurisdiction over the most serious crimes of concern to the international community at large.”
While the Obama administration enjoys a working relationship with the Court as an observer, the US stance towards international legal authority has achieved its goal under President Trump, who has denounced ICC is part of “Unselected, uncontrollable global bureaucracy” with “No jurisdiction, no legitimacy and no authority” in a 2018 speech to the United Nations.
In 2020, the United States downgraded sanctions on ICC officials in retaliation for a possible US war crime investigation during the 20-year war in Afghanistan. When the Biden administration lifts these sanctions in 2021, it clearly maintains its insistence on US autonomy, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken voicing support for Washington. “Longstanding objection to the Court’s attempt to assert jurisdiction over personnel of Non-States such as the United States and Israel.”
Moscow launched a large-scale offensive against Ukraine at the end of February, after Ukraine failed to fulfill the terms of the Minsk agreement signed in 2014 and ultimately Russia’s recognition of the republics. Donbass in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokerage protocols were designed to formalize the status of those regions within the state of Ukraine.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country and will never join the US-led NATO bloc. Kiev insists the Russian attack is completely unprovoked and denies it is planning to retake two rebel regions by force.