On the annual Munich Safety Convention yesterday, Vice President Kamala Harris was direct, saying, “Within the case of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we now have examined the proof. We all know the authorized requirements, and there’s no doubt: These are crimes towards humanity.” She spoke of “ugly acts of homicide, torture, rape, and deportation.”
The VP careworn, “And I say to all those that have perpetrated these crimes and to their superiors who’re complicit in these crimes: You can be held to account,” including, “allow us to all agree, on behalf of all of the victims, each recognized and unknown, justice must be served. Such is our ethical curiosity.”
And Secretary of State Tony Blinken issued the formal finding: “Primarily based on a cautious evaluation of the law and obtainable details, I’ve decided that members of Russia’s forces and different Russian officers have dedicated crimes towards humanity in Ukraine,” concluding that “the USA will pursue justice for the individuals of Ukraine for so long as it takes.”
However that justice won’t happen within the U.S., for if a Russian who dedicated crimes towards humanity in Ukraine ended up right here, nothing would occur to him. That’s as a result of Congress has refused to make such an atrocity an offense, in contrast to nearly each nation on this planet, together with all our main allies.
It was solely final month that the U.S. closed a loophole within the 1996 Warfare Crimes Act. Beforehand, provided that the sufferer or perpetrator of a conflict crime was a U.S. particular person may there be a prosecution. By voice votes in each chambers, Congress, led by Rep. Jerry Nadler, removed the U.S. particular person limitation and President Biden signed the brand new Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act final month.
So a Russian who commits conflict crimes in Ukraine can now be prosecuted by the Division of Justice. However one other Russian who dedicated what may far worse crimes towards humanity stays untouchable. Harris and Blinken are proper about crimes towards humanity. Now make that unlawful beneath American law.