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March 30, 2023
During a speech at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, US Vice President Kamala Harris accused Russia of committing crimes against humanity in Ukraine. Harris went onto say that “justice must be served” to those who are guilty.
Harris went on to reiterate the importance of these crimes being addressed, nothing that failing to do so could embolden other dictators.
“Russian forces have pursued a widespread and systemic attack against a civilian population — gruesome acts of murder, torture, rape, and deportation,” Harris said. She also cited “execution-style killings, beatings, and electrocution.”
The Biden administration have already stated that they believe Russia is guilty of war crimes. Crimes against humanity is deemed to be a level above war crimes in that the attacks against civilians are intentional and systematic.
“Russian authorities have forcibly deported hundreds of thousands of people, from Ukraine to Russia, including children,” Harris said. “They have cruelly separated children from their families.”
Harris noted her role as a former prosecutor and former head of California’s Department of Justice, by saying that she fully understands “the importance of gathering facts and holding them up 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,” she said. “These are crimes against humanity.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was also in attendance, released a statement saying “we reserve crimes against humanity determinations for the most egregious crimes.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed his compatriots in Kyiv this week and said that he had got “strong signals from our partners” about holding Russia accountable. Zelenskyy didn’t mention Harris by name.
“Every Russian attack … on every corner of our state will have concrete legal consequences for the terrorist state,” Zelenskyy said, citing attacks not just in the past year of war but dating back to 2014, when fighting with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine first broke out.
No Russian officials were invited to the conference in Munich.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: NBC 4 WASHINGTON