The Pentagon is blocking the Biden administration from sharing evidence of Russian war crimes with the International Criminal Court. A New York Times report states the Defense Department is concerned that assisting The Hague will set a precedent of cooperation and lead to the possible prosecution of Americans.
Congress made an exception for this type of cooperation in December. Lawmakers who have been to Ukraine, including Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., assert that America needs to help the court hold war criminals and Vladimir Putin accountable.
“What they have done, and I visited those mass grave sites in Bucha, is absolutely intolerable to the world community. And we need to put that interest above the immediate concerns that may be motivating the Department of Defense to withhold this evidence,” Sen. Blumenthal told Straight Arrow News.
American intelligence agencies have reportedly gathered information about Russian officials deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure and abducting thousands of Ukrainians and forcibly bringing them to Russia.
According to the report, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is objecting to the information sharing and President Biden has yet to make a final decision. Officials involved in the matter said the intelligence agencies and Departments of Justice and State are all in favor of providing the intel.
“I understand the Pentagon’s reluctance to potentially submit evidence and establish a precedent for providing facts that could be damaging to our troops if they were ever brought before a court,” Sen. Blumenthal said. “But I see no realistic possibility that our troops will ever be facing that kind of a court of justice.”
A spokesperson for the National Security Council said the government supports holding Russian war criminals accountable and they are working to expose what the Russian forces are doing.