US Declares That Russia Has Committed War Crimes In Ukraine

Biden calls Putin a “war criminal.” Implying? 1:47

(WABNEWS) β€” The US government has formally declared that members of Russia’s military have committed war crimes in Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday.

The official US statement that Moscow troops have violated the laws of the conflict comes after Blinken, President Joe Biden and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said that, in their personal opinion, crimes were committed. of war.

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“Today I can announce that, based on information currently available, the United States government assesses that members of the Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” Blinken said in a statement.

“Our assessment is based on a careful review of available information from public and intelligence sources,” he continued.

An important step for the US

The decision to issue an indictment represents a significant step by the US government, after several weeks in which it refused to officially say that attacks carried out against civilians in Ukraine are war crimes. However, it remains to be seen whether those accused of committing such alleged crimes will be held accountable and whether Russia’s President Vladimir Putin himself will be held accountable.

Last week, Biden accused Putin of committing war crimes. “I think he is a war criminal,” Biden said at the White House.

“As with any other alleged crime, a court of law with jurisdiction over the crime is ultimately responsible for determining criminal guilt in specific cases,” Blinken said Wednesday. “The US government will continue to track war crimes reports and share the information we collect with allies, partners, and international institutions and organizations, as appropriate. We are committed to seeking accountability using all available tools, including criminal proceedings,” he added.

‘Credible’ reports of war crimes

Blinken’s statement cited “credible reports” of indiscriminate attacks and deliberately targeted attacks on civilians. Among them the destruction of apartment buildings, schools and hospitals. The State Department specifically cited attacks on a mother and child hospital and a theater in Mariupol. The theater, the State Department said, had the word “children” written in Russian in letters that were visible from the sky.

WABNEWS investigation into Mariupol bombing debunks Russian allegation 3:40

Beth Van Schaack, US ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice, said she couldn’t go into detail about which incidents the US has deemed war crimes. In that sense, she added that the US “analyzes the wide range in which Russian forces are involved” in Ukraine.

“This will be an ongoing process throughout this conflict,” he told a State Department briefing.

Van Schaack noted that “as with any alleged crime, it will ultimately be up to a court of law to determine the individual criminal culpability of who is directly responsible for these particular cases,” he insisted.

Asked if Putin bears responsibility for the actions of members of his country’s armed forces, whom the United States has accused of committing war crimes, Van Schaack said: “There are doctrines under international law and domestic law that can get up the chain of command.

“We are also supporting the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office and its war crimes division, as well as civil society documentation efforts,” he added.

Van Schaack said it was essential evidence was collected and preserved for future accountability.

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