Ilhan Omar Calls US War Crime Claim ‘Staggeringly Hypocritical’

While the US calls for Russia to be tried for war crimes still resound through the world, US Rep. Ilhan Omar is setting a key potential stumbling block for that call, pointing out that the United States isn’t even a member of the international court that would handle the probe.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the logical entity to take on the case of Russia committing war crimes in Ukraine, as Biden and other Western leaders are accusing, and, as matter of fact, it initiated an investigation days after Russia invaded Ukraine with its military offensive launched in February.

The court was set up specifically to prosecute such major cases as war crimes, including genocide in situations when a country declines to investigate atrocities allegedly committed by its nationals.

Omar, a member of Biden’s own Democratic Party, stressed that it would be staggeringly hypocritical to support an investigation into Russia while opposing the ICC’s very existence as a non-member, and introduced a bill last Thursday to join the court.

She noted that the best way to support the ICC’s investigation of Russia would be to join the international body, stressing that Washington’s failure to join the international body is the biggest obstacle to holding tyrants like Putin accountable for their crimes.

Not only has the US opted against making its military forces subject to the jurisdiction of the Hague-based ICC, formed under the Rome Statute of 1998, but it has even imposed sanctions against it in 2020 when the court was probing alleged war crimes the US forces committed in Afghanistan.

Previously in 2019, Washington revoked an entry visa issued to an ICC prosecutor because she was investigating possible war crimes by US forces and their allies in Afghanistan.

The US has also never accepted the provision that citizens of non-member states can be prosecuted for crimes allegedly committed in ICC-member countries.

The US allies China and Israel also have declined to join the 123 member nations of the ICC while Russia, who had signed but never ratified the treaty, withdrew its signature in 2016 after ICC classified the annexation of Crimea as an occupation.

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