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Harris accuses Russia of committing crimes against humanity in Ukraine

Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris speaks at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023. (AFP photo)

US Vice President Kamala Harris has accused Russia of committing crimes against humanity in Ukraine, ratcheting up its propaganda offensive against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis. Russia says the United States is fighting a proxy war in Ukraine against it.

Harris said during a speech at the annual Munich Security Conference on Saturday that the United States has formally determined that Moscow has committed crimes against humanity and vowed that it will be held accountable for its actions.

Harris said that the world has witnessed Russian forces engaged in “horrendous atrocities and war crimes.”

She accused Russian soldiers of carrying out attacks against Ukrainian civilians.

“The United States has formally determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity, and I say to all those who have perpetrated these crimes, and to their superiors, who are complicit in these crimes, you will be held to account,” Harris said.

“So my question is what does Harris mean by a process? No public process has been conducted, to my knowledge. And if there is such a process, by what right does it claim jurisdiction over Russia and/or the war in Ukraine?” New York-based journalist Don DeBar asked.

“Harris was a prosecuting attorney. These questions should not be difficult for her to answer. And if she's going to charge someone with war crimes, they should be a part of her statement,” he added.

The United Nations defines a crime against humanity as one or more of several acts that are part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population with prior knowledge of the attack.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last March that the US had formally determined Russia was committing war crimes in Ukraine.

Blinken said in a statement on March 23, 2022 that Russian Vladimir Putin had “unleashed unrelenting violence that has caused death and destruction across Ukraine.”

“Today, I can announce that, based on information currently available, the US government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” he added.

He said the assessment was based on “a careful review of available information from public and intelligence sources.”

American writer and political analyst Daniel Patrick Welch said in an interview with Press TV that US and Western war criminals have never been prosecuted for the myriad war crimes committed over decades.

Welch said that “the most shocking part is that the whole reason this situation (Ukraine conflict) degenerated into open warfare is the obvious, ongoing and well-documented war crimes being committed by the US/NATO-enabled neo-Nazi groups for the past eight years. And the fact that they have been completely ignored by the Kiev junta and by their US and NATO string-pullers.”

“When these are answered for, it won't be at the Hague or the ICC. It will be in newly formed institutions in the Donbass, with considerable participation from the non-Western world. China and Russia really are on the front lines of destroying the corrupt old order led by the US. It is absolutely earthshaking,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Russian defense ministry has accused Ukraine of committing "war crimes" by executing more than 10 Russian soldiers.

Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar has said the United States needs to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it wants to probe alleged Russian atrocities in Ukraine.

Rep. Omar questioned how the Biden administration could have Russia prosecuted for alleged war crimes in Ukraine if Washington is not even a member of the court that would handle the probe.

The ICC was created by a 1998 treaty known as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome, Italy in July 1998, and entered into force in July 2002. Although US President Bill Clinton signed it in 2000, he said that he would not submit it to the Senate for ratification until the US government had a chance to assess the functioning of the Court.

That signature was subsequently withdrawn by George W. Bush. Accordingly, the US is not subject to the jurisdiction of the court, meaning that it is not bound by its decisions. And the US has taken additional actions, both in the form of legislation and by executive order, to insulate its elected and military personnel from the reach of the court.

Nevertheless, the US has not been shy about targeting its enemies with the court as a weapon.

Omar was speaking about this contradiction when she made her comments.

“It would be staggeringly hypocritical to support an investigation into Russia while opposing the court’s very existence as a non-member,” she told Business Insider.





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