Report: WH Fears Austin’s Refusal to Work with ICC on Ukraine Will Hurt Morale
Story Code : 1046493
White House officials were reportedly "dismayed" when the report came out last week. The publication cited officials as saying that US War Secretary Lloyd Austin was opposed to helping the Hague-based court probe alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine over concerns that this would set a precedent for prosecuting Americans for atrocities committed abroad, in countries like Afghanistan.
The United States has long kept its distance from the ICC for fear that the tribunal, created two decades ago to investigate war crimes, would one day go after its own citizens, but Congress modified legal curbs on engaging with the court in December to allow for evidence sharing on Ukraine. Despite the readiness of other federal agencies, the Pentagon blocked the Biden administration from reaching out.
Russia denies that its troops have ever committed war crimes in Ukraine where they are conducting what Moscow terms a special military operation. Russia argues that Western-backed international organizations have repeatedly ignored Ukrainian atrocities against people in Donbas.