Members of the U.S. Home Overseas Affairs Committee mentioned Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is committing genocide in Ukraine. Their feedback got here a day earlier than they have been scheduled to fulfill with the chief prosecutor of the Worldwide Legal Court docket.
The ICC in March issued a world arrest warrant for Putin for struggle crimes, accusing him of non-public duty for the abductions of kids from Ukraine. Nonetheless, it has not but charged him with some other offenses dedicated by Russian forces since their invasion of Ukraine greater than 18 months in the past.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, advised reporters throughout a go to to The Hague that Putin “tried to erase a tradition, a individuals and a faith, and that’s the definition of genocide.”
One other member of the committee, Anne Wagner, a Montana Republican, agreed, talking of the “crimes towards humanity, the downright genocide that this man has perpetrated.”
Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, mentioned Putin even earlier than the struggle had denied the existence of Ukraine as a rustic and a individuals.
“So I feel he himself made the case for genocide and his habits subsequently has crammed in blanks,” Connolly mentioned.
Their feedback Wednesday got here as Russian shelling of a market in japanese Ukraine killed at the least 16 individuals and wounded many extra. The assault was launched whereas U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kyiv and was anticipated to announce greater than $1 billion in new American funding.
Members of the committee will meet Thursday with ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan and go to the European Union Company for Legal Justice Cooperation, or Eurojust, which hosts the Worldwide Heart for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression Towards Ukraine. The middle goals to help nations already constructing circumstances towards senior Russian leaders for the crime of aggression. The Worldwide Legal Court docket can prosecute crimes together with genocide however doesn’t have jurisdiction over the crime of aggression.
McCaul mentioned the committee members will likely be taking a look at “the proof itself and the way we will help The Hague collect extra and acquire extra proof and intelligence to show the case towards Putin.”
The USA just isn’t a member state of the ICC, and in the course of the administration of former President Donald Trump it slapped sanctions on a earlier ICC prosecutor and a number of other aides for pursuing investigations into alleged struggle crimes dedicated by U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and Israeli servicemembers within the West Financial institution and Gaza.
However because the outbreak of struggle in Ukraine, the connection has shifted. Final month, Lawyer Normal Merrick Garland mentioned the U.S. Justice Division is cooperating with the court docket and supporting Ukrainian prosecutors finishing up struggle crime investigation s.
Whereas the arrest warrant towards Putin carries important ethical weight, it’s unlikely to result in him showing in a courtroom in The Hague any time quickly as a result of Moscow doesn’t acknowledge the court docket’s jurisdiction or extradite its nationals.
The visiting congressional delegation additionally consists of Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y.; Madeleine Dean, D-Pa.; Thomas Kean, R-N.J.; and Invoice Huizenga, R-Mich. They’re additionally holding conferences within the Netherlands with Dutch authorities officers and members of parliament, amongst others.
The delegation’s Europe go to goals to bolster ties with U.S. strategic allies in addition to talk about help for NATO and Ukraine, methods to carry Russia accountable for its actions in Ukraine, and the best way to confront shared threats from China.
Comply with AP’s protection of the struggle in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine