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Monday, April 22, 2024

The U.S. government’s ability to investigate and prosecute international war crimes received a vote of approval from Congress

A bill that will allow international war crime suspects who are in the United States to be tried in a federal court regardless of the nationality of the victim or the perpetrator or the location where the crime was committed received final approval from Congress on Thursday. This bill will expand the authority of the United States government to prosecute international war crime suspects who are in the United States.

The legislation, which was shepherded through the legislative process by a group of lawmakers representing both political parties in response to reports that Russian forces committed war crimes in the brutal conflict in Ukraine, is credited by legal experts with bringing the legal code of the United States into conformity with international laws.

The Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act is the name of the legislation that will soon be presented to President Joe Biden. It raced through the Senate and then the House in the hours leading up to an address given to Congress on Wednesday evening by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. In his speech, he condemned Russia’s President Vladimir V. Putin for his country’s targeting of civilians and urged the United States to keep sending financial and military aid despite an onslaught of winter weather. The bill was passed quickly.

The only circumstances in which war crimes may be prosecuted under current federal law are those in which the crime was committed within the United States, or in which either the victim or the offender is a citizen or military member of the United States. In general, non-Americans who commit war crimes against other non-Americans abroad and subsequently enter the United States are not subject to the same legal consequences as their American counterparts.

When the Justice Department found out that a foreign resident who was suspected of committing a war crime was residing in the United States, David J. Scheffer, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that the department was left with few choices to pursue. In one instance, a Bosnian man who was suspected of killing Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995 was only charged with visa fraud when U.S. officials discovered that he was living in Massachusetts in 2004. He had to be extradited to face additional charges and was accused of killing Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995.

After discovering that two former Guatemalan soldiers were living in the United States, the United States government was only able to bring charges of naturalisation fraud against them. These former soldiers were suspected of killing villagers at Dos Erres in 1982, during the civil war that was taking place in Guatemala.

According to Mr. Scheffer, the new legislation ensures that the United States will no longer serve as a safe haven for war criminals. He also noted that the legislation is a timely deterrent to any Russians, from top generals to foot soldiers, who might commit war crimes in Ukraine and then try to enter the United States in the future.

According to what he had remarked, “a lot of nations look to the United States to see whether or not we are keeping our house in order.” “Are we passing domestic criminal legislation that gives us the authority to pursue genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes?”

Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews
I am a Political News Journalist of The National Era
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