The United States determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine, US Vice President Kamala Harris declared on Saturday.
“Justice must be applied” against those responsible, he emphasized.
During a speech at the Munich Security ConferenceHarris added that the international community has both a moral and strategic interest in prosecuting such crimes, given the danger that other authoritarian governments will take advantage if international norms are undermined.
“Russian forces have extensively and systematically targeted a civilian population: heinous acts of murder, torture, rape and deportation,” Harris said. He also mentioned “execution-type murders, beatings and electrocution.”
President Joe Biden’s administration formally ruled in March that Russian troops committed war crimes in Ukraine and said it would seek to join others in prosecuting the perpetrators. The determination of crimes against humanity is a further step, indicating that crimes against civilians are committed in a generalized and systematic manner.
“Russian authorities have forcibly deported hundreds of thousands of people from Ukraine to Russia, including children,” Harris denounced. “Children have been cruelly separated from their families.”
He highlighted the attack in mid-March that killed hundreds of people who had taken refuge in a theater in the port city of Mariupol, as well as images of dead civilians on the streets of Bucha — a Kiev suburb that is now synonymous with the most terrible atrocities of the war – following the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Kiev area last year.
Harris said that as a former prosecutor and former head of the California Department of Justice, she knows “the importance of gathering the facts and running them against the law.”
“In the case of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we have examined the evidence, we know the legal standards and there is no doubt,” he said. “These are crimes against humanity.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, also present at the Munich conference, said in a statement issued simultaneously with Harris’s speech, that “we reserve determinations of crimes against humanity for the most heinous crimes.”
The new determination highlights the “stunning magnitude” of the suffering inflicted on Ukrainian civilians and “at the same time reflects the deep commitment of the United States to hold members of the Russian forces and other Russian officials to answer for their atrocities,” added.
Harris told the annual meeting of security and defense officials from around the world: “Let us agree on behalf of all victims, known and unknown, that justice must be served.”
“That is our moral interest,” he added. “In addition, we have a significant strategic interest”
“No nation is safe in a world where one country can violate the security and territorial integrity of another, where crimes against humanity are committed with impunity, where a country with imperialist ambitions can act without restraint,” Harris said.
US Vice President Kamala Harris told the Security Conference in Munich on Saturday that Russia had committed war crimes in the invasion of Ukraine and that “justice must be served.”
Source: VOA Español