Pentagon 'not sharing US intelligence' with ICC that could hold Russia to account
The Pentagon was accused of obstructing efforts to share US intelligence with the International Criminal Court (ICC) relating to Russian war crimes in Ukraine, according to officials, fearing American troops could be tried at The Hague.
US military leaders reportedly oppose sharing information for fear that could be used by the ICC to investigate American soldiers for alleged crimes in places such as Iraq and Syria.
President Joe Biden's administration, including intelligence agencies and the State and Justice departments, reportedly supports handing over evidence as it could lead to the prosecution of key figures in President Vladimir Putin's military and government.
"The information reportedly includes material about decisions by Russian officials to deliberately target civilian infrastructure and to abduct thousands of Ukrainian children from occupied territory," The New York Times reported.
Biden has not made a final decision on the matter, but top military officials, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, continue to object.
In December, Congress voted to change longstanding legal restrictions so the US could offer greater assistance to the ICC with its investigations and eventual prosecutions.
Senator Lindsey Graham, who was involved in easing the restrictions, has accused the Department of Defense of being "the problem child".
"The sooner we can get the information into the hands of the ICC, the better off the world will be," he said.
Russia has been accused of multiple violations of international law since its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.
According to Ukraine, at least 34,000 possible war crimes have been carried out by Moscow's forces, who have shelled and bombed urban areas and are accused of carrying out mass torture and killing of civilians and soldiers.
Ukrainian forces have also been accused of war crimes against Russian troops.