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Jacobs, McGovern Introduce Legislation to Support ICC Investigations in Ukraine, Encourage U.S. to Join ICC

Support International Criminal Investigations for Ukraine Act states that it is U.S. policy to engage and support ICC, repeals ban on federal funds supporting ICC

Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) has introduced legislation to enable United States funding to the International Criminal Court (ICC), bolster investigations into Russian war crimes in Ukraine, and encourage the United States to become a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC. On Monday, the ICC announced that it would become a participant in investigations into alleged core international crimes committed in Ukraine. 

Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA-2), co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, is the co-lead on the legislation. Congresswoman Jacobs also serves on the Human Rights Commission and is also a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Armed Services Committee.

The Support International Criminal Investigations for Ukraine Act repeals the existing ban on the United States providing funding to the ICC, encourages the United States to pursue a policy of constructive engagement with the ICC, and also encourages the United States to take steps required to become a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The bill enables the United States to provide material support for and participate in international efforts to collect and preserve evidence that may be relevant for the prosecution of war crimes in Ukraine and requires the Secretary of State to report to Congress on the progress of United States support following the bill’s enactment. 

Bill Text:The Support International Criminal Investigations for Ukraine Act 

“It is time for the United States to fully support the International Criminal Court and begin the process of joining the ICC as a state party. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and conduct across this war have shown that we are in a fight right now for the future of the international system — one that values human rights and holds those who violate them accountable,” said Congresswoman Sara Jacobs. “I am proud to work with Congressman McGovern on this legislation to strengthen international efforts to hold Russia accountable, bolster future investigations into war crimes and genocide, and improve our ability to lead globally. A fundamental source of our power is our ability to bring together the international community  – just as we’ve done in uniting support for Ukraine. To continue to have that authority, we need to hold ourselves to the same standards that we are demanding of others.” 

“As the world recoils in horror at Russia’s indiscriminate attacks against Ukrainian civilians, America must do more than condemn those responsible and support victims—we must seek out and demand accountability and justice for those who are planning and executing these war crimes,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “Now is the time for the United States to lead by example and stand up for human rights around the world. And we believe that means fully supporting the International Criminal Court as it begins looking into the horrible atrocities being committed by Russia against the people of Ukraine and elsewhere.”

The International Criminal Court was established in 2002 by the Rome Statute and more than 120 nations are party to the Statute. The ICC may prosecute individuals charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Alleged crimes are referred to the ICC by State Parties or the United Nations Security Council. The United States signed the Rome Statute in 2000, but did not ratify it in the Senate and in 2002 formally withdrew its signature.