The United States must pass a law to prosecute

The United States must pass a law to prosecute

At the annual Munich Security Conference yesterday, Vice President Kamala Harris was direct, said, “In relation to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we have examined the evidence. We know the legal standard, and there is no doubt about it: these are crimes against humanity.” He spoke of “heinous acts of murder, torture, rape and deportation”.

“And I say to those who have committed these crimes and those who are complicit in these crimes: you must be held accountable,” the VP asserted, adding, “Let us all agree, there should be justice for all the victims, both known and unknown. That’s it. Our moral interest.”

And Secretary of State Tony Blinken issued the official results: “Based on a careful analysis of the law and available information, I have determined that members of the Russian military and other Russian officials have committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine,” concluding that “the United States will pursue justice for the people of Ukraine. As long as it takes.”

But that justice won’t happen in the United States, because if a Russian who commits crimes against humanity in Ukraine ends up here, nothing will happen to him. Because Congress has refused to criminalize such atrocities, unlike almost every country in the world, including all of our major allies.

Just last month, the US closed loopholes in the 1996 war crimes law. Previously, war crimes could only be prosecuted if the victim or perpetrator was a US person. Through voice votes in both chambers, Congress, led by Representative Jerry Nadler, got rid of US person restrictions and President Biden signed the new deal. Prosecution of victims of war crimes laws Last month.

So a Russian who committed war crimes in Ukraine can now be prosecuted by the judiciary. But another Russian who committed an even worse crime against humanity remains untouched. Harris and Blinken are right about crimes against humanity. Now make it illegal under American law.

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