Lawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to expand US jurisdiction over war crimes
A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday introduced a bill that would expand the power of the United States to investigate war crimes.
the New legislation, introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), would allow the United States to prosecute suspected war criminals, regardless of the location and targets of their alleged actions.
Current law only allows the prosecution of those accused of committing war crimes in the United States or against Americans abroad. If an accused war criminal subsequently traveled to the United States, they would still not be prosecuted under current law.
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The bill’s introduction comes as Ukraine and other countries investigate alleged war crimes committed by Russian soldiers during their nearly three-month military operation.
“The United States should not be a haven for war criminals seeking to escape justice in their home countries,” Grassley said. “While current laws hold war criminals accountable for acts against Americans, war criminals entering the United States should not be granted a free pass simply because they did not target Americans. Americans This bill sends a strong message that people who commit war crimes are not welcome here and should be punished, no matter where their offense was committed or who they were victimized.
A 21-year-old Russian soldier accused of killing an unarmed civilian in Ukraine pleaded guilty on Wednesday in the first war crimes trial of a Russian soldier since the invasion in late February.
Vadim Shishimarin appeared before a full courthouse in kyiv, telling the judge he was “fully” guilty and refusing to speak further.
The soldier is accused of killing a 62-year-old unarmed Ukrainian by shooting him in late February while riding a bicycle in a village in the Sumy region of northeastern Ukraine.
“We still have no information on this case. And the ability to provide assistance is also very limited due to the absence of our diplomatic mission [in Ukraine]. But, once again, I repeat: I have no information on this case,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
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A day earlier, the State Department announced the creation of the Conflict Observatory, which will work to “capture, analyze, and widely disseminate evidence of Russian war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine,” according to a report. statement from the department.
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said her office had opened more than 10,000 investigations into individual acts of alleged war crimes. Criminal charges have been filed against at least 10 Russian soldiers for human rights abuses linked to reports that soldiers “took unarmed civilians hostage, killed them from hunger and thirst, held them to their knees , hands tied and eyes closed, mocked and beaten”.