The Guardian: Pentagon accused of blocking effort to hand Russia war crimes evidence to ICC

Defence department reportedly unwilling to share intelligence over fears precedent could be set against US soldiers

The Pentagon has been accused of blocking the sharing of US intelligence with the international criminal court (ICC) about Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

The Biden White House and state department have been a proponent of cooperation with the Hague-based ICC, as a means of holding Russian forces accountable for widespread war crimes, but the defence department is firmly opposed on the grounds that the precedent could eventually be turned against US soldiers.

The New York Times quoted current and former officials as saying Pentagon resistance was the obstacle. It reported that the national security council (NSC) convened a meeting of senior officials on 3 February to try to resolve the dispute, but that the defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, did not budge. Joe Biden has yet to give a final decision.

The Republican senator Lindsey Graham, who was behind a congressional resolution urging US support for the court over Ukraine, also blamed the Pentagon.

“DoD [Department of Defence] opposed the legislative change – it passed overwhelmingly – and they are now trying to undermine the letter and spirit of the law,” Graham told the New York Times, in remarks confirmed to the Guardian by his office. “It seems to me that DoD is the problem child here, and the sooner we can get the information into the hands of the ICC, the better off the world will be.”

Asked for comment, the NSC spokeswoman, Adrienne Watson, said: “Russian forces have been committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian people deserve justice.”

Read full report at THE GUARDIAN