House Republicans who voted against investigating Russia’s alleged war crimes in Ukraine and gathering evidence defended their vote, arguing that doing so would open up US troops to their own prosecution.
But a special adviser to the International Criminal Court (ICC) told newsweek That the claims are “false” and that US military members would be less likely to be prosecuted by the court.
On Wednesday, the House voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Ukraine Invasion War Crimes Prevention and Accountability Act, amid growing calls for a war crimes trial against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While most Republicans supported the measure, six GOP lawmakers opposed the bill, saying the law “set the table for bringing fake war crime charges against US service members for mistakes committed during military operations in theaters such as Afghanistan.” will do.”
The claim is based on the historical relationship between the ICC and the US, which is not a member of the court like Russia. Nations that have never ratified the ICC’s Rome Statute argued that the court did not have the authority to prosecute citizens of a state who did not attend.
But Leila Sadat, special adviser on crimes against humanity to the ICC prosecutor, said that even if the US decided to ratify the law, it would be unlikely that the court would bring such a trial against US soldiers.
“The determination about the hypothetical likelihood that American individuals will somehow commit a serious war crime, a crime against humanity or genocide and be charged by the court is incorrect,” Sadat said. newsweek,
If the US becomes one of the ICC’s state parties, international prosecutors will dismiss their investigation, if the US initiates its own investigation, just like the court’s investigation by Britain into the case against UK troops in Iraq. Did it after starting.
“It is the policy of the US government to prosecute themselves for war crimes if they are aggrieved, and there is little real possibility of ICC prosecution of American individuals,” Sadat said.
Even though the ICC has not released its jurisdiction over US military investigations – which seems unlikely – alleged crimes in Afghanistan are being targeted by the court, which do not involve US service members.
“Most of the crimes alleged by the prosecutor were war crimes and crimes against humanity that were allegedly committed by the Taliban, as well as some crimes allegedly committed by Afghan national forces,” Sadat said.
“Only a very small portion of the prosecutor’s application to launch the investigation covered allegations of alleged custodial torture by American persons.”
He added that the current ICC prosecutor has already prioritized alleged crimes committed by the US, instead choosing to focus on crimes allegedly committed by other parties.
“If Ukraine can subject itself to the rule of law as it fights for its existence, so can the US,” Sadat said. “The Geneva Convention and other rules of international humanitarian law protect soldiers from all sides of the conflict, who are entitled to be treated with respect, especially if wounded or captured, as well as the civilian population.”