News Release

U.S. Senate: Prosecute Russia War Crimes, not Ours



Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She just wrote the piece “After Undermining International Criminal Court, U.S. Now Wants It to Charge Russians,” which states: “Although the United States has tried mightily to undermine the International Criminal Court (ICC) since it became operational in 2002, the U.S. government is now pushing for the ICC to prosecute Russian leaders for war crimes in Ukraine. Apparently, Washington thinks the ICC is reliable enough to try Russians but not to bring U.S. or Israeli officials to justice.

“On March 15, the Senate unanimously passed S. Res 546, which ‘encourages member states to petition the ICC or other appropriate international tribunal to take any appropriate steps to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Russian Armed Forces.’

“When he introduced the resolution, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said, ‘This is a proper exercise of jurisdiction. This is what the court was created for.’ The United States has refused to join the ICC and consistently tries to undercut the court. Yet a unanimous U.S. Senate voted to utilize the ICC in the Ukraine conflict.”

Cohn’s piece explains how limitations on the ICC, put in place by France, Britain and other countries, foreclose the possibility of the ICC actually prosecuting Russian officials for the crime of aggression.

She concludes: “U.S. hypocrisy is no more apparent than in the first ‘Whereas’ clause of the Senate’s unanimous resolution condemning Russia. It says, ‘Whereas the United States of America is a beacon for the values of freedom, democracy, and human rights across the globe…’

“One hundred members of the U.S. Senate affirmed that sentiment in spite of the U.S. wars of aggression” in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the commission of U.S war crimes.