On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland paid an unexpected visit to the International Criminal Court and talked with its top prosecutor, indicating Washington’s evolving approach toward the world’s permanent war crimes tribunal.
The United States, along with other nations such as China and Russia, is not a member of the court, and the Trump administration placed penalties on top ICC officials.
However, sanctions were withdrawn under US President Joe Biden, and Washington has supported the ICC’s work in probing war crimes in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.
The ICC announced on Twitter that Garland had met with chief prosecutor Karim Khan, but provided no further details. The visit had not been disclosed in advance, and no information was made available to the media.
Garland’s meeting with top court officials demonstrates the strengthened cooperation between Washington and the court, which issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, accusing him of war crimes for illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.
Biden has said that the ICC warrant was justified.
Moscow has frequently disputed allegations that its forces committed atrocities, and the Kremlin has declared the court’s decision to issue a warrant for Putin to be “null and void.”
Not everyone in the present administration supports closer ties with the ICC.
Last month, lawmakers in the United States stated that the State and Justice Departments were cooperating with the court, but accused
The Pentagon has been accused of impeding the prosecution of Russian leaders for war crimes by preventing the release of US military intelligence.