President Joe Biden has chosen to allow the US to take part in the ICC’s investigation of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, according to two US officials and a person with knowledge of the issue who spoke to CNN.
It would be the first time the US has agreed to share evidence with the court as part of an inquiry against a country that is not a party to the ICC. The decision, which comes after months of internal deliberation, marks a historic turning point. The US and Russia are not participants in the court.
One person said, “It could be deeply consequential,” and added that the US administration now has “a clear green light” to share data and evidence with the ICC. The insider explained that what the ICC prosecutor requests for the investigations would ultimately determine what information the US discloses.
However, they did note that Biden “has been clear: there needs to be accountability for the perpetrators and enablers of war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine.”The source from the National Security Council declined to provide more context regarding the choice.
“We have been very clear that we support a range of international measures to identify and hold those responsible accountable,” the statement read.
Transparency and Accountability
“Among others, this includes through the Office of the Ukraine Prosecutor General, the Joint Investigative Team through Eurojust, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the Expert Missions established under the OSCE’s ‘Moscow Mechanism,’ and the International Criminal Court.”
The New York Times was the first to report on Biden’s directive.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Andriy Kostin, hailed the US decision as “another historic step towards building comprehensive accountability for Russia’s international crimes” on Friday. Kostin thanked Merrick Garland, the attorney general of the United States, and the US Justice Department for “standing with Ukraine at the forefront of justice.”
With each meeting, letter, and hearing before Congress, we move closer to achieving our ultimate goal, which is to stop Russia and hold the criminal dictatorship there accountable for all its atrocities. Kostin wrote on Twitter, “Once again, we demonstrate that devotion, solidarity, and determination yield positive outcomes.