The Hague (Netherlands) – Members of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is committing genocide in Ukraine. Their comments came one day before their scheduled meeting with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
In March, the International Criminal Court issued an international decision Arrest warrant for Putin On charges of committing war crimes, and accusing him of personal responsibility for those crimes Kidnapping of children from Ukraine. But he has not yet been charged with any other charges committed by Russian forces since their invasion of Ukraine more than 18 months ago.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, told reporters during a visit to The Hague that Putin “tried to erase a culture, a people and a religion, and that is the definition of genocide.”
Another committee member, Ann Wagner, a Republican from Missouri, agreed to talk about “the crimes against humanity, the outright genocide that this man committed.”
Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, said that even before the war, Putin was denying the existence of Ukraine as a country and a people.
“So I think he himself brought up the issue of genocide, and his behavior afterward filled in the blanks,” Connolly said.
Their comments on Wednesday came across as Russian Market bombing In eastern Ukraine, it killed at least 16 people and injured many more. The attack was launched while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was visiting Kiev and was expected to announce more than $1 billion in new US funding.
On Thursday, committee members will meet with ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan and visit the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, or Eurojust, which hosts the International Center for the Prosecution of Crimes of Aggression against Ukraine. The center aims to support countries that are already filing cases against senior Russian leaders on charges of committing the crime of aggression. The ICC can prosecute crimes, including genocide, but it does not have jurisdiction over the crime of aggression.
McCaul said committee members will look at “the evidence itself and how we can help The Hague gather more evidence and intelligence to prove the case against Putin.”
The United States is not a member state of the ICC, and during the administration of former President Donald Trump, it imposed sanctions on the former ICC prosecutor and several of his aides to pursue investigations into alleged war crimes committed by US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and Israeli soldiers. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
But since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the relationship has changed. Last month, the Attorney General Merrick Garland The US Department of Justice said it cooperates with and supports the court Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating war crimes s.
Although the arrest warrant issued for Putin carries great moral weight, it is unlikely to lead to him appearing in a courtroom in The Hague any time soon because Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction or extradite its citizens.
The visiting congressional delegation also includes Gregory Meeks, D.N.Y.; Madeleine Dean, Democrat from Pennsylvania; Thomas Kane, RNJ; and Bill Huizenga, Republican of Michigan. They are also holding meetings in the Netherlands with Dutch government officials and members of Parliament, among others.
The delegation’s visit to Europe aims to strengthen relations with the strategic allies of the United States, as well as discuss support for NATO and Ukraine, ways to hold Russia accountable for its actions in Ukraine, and how to confront common threats from China.
This story corrects that Ann Wagner is a Republican from Missouri.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine on https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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