By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The US formally lent its support Tuesday to the formation of an international tribunal to prosecute Russia for "crime of aggression" committed during its war against Ukraine.
The court should be "internationalized" but rooted in Ukraine's judicial system, State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters.
"We envision such a court having significant international support, particularly from our European partners, and ideally located in another country in Europe," he said.
"We believe that this special tribunal should be rooted in Ukraine's domestic judicial system as this will provide the clearest path to establishing a new tribunal and maximize our chances of achieving meaningful accountability," he added.
The comments come roughly a week and a half after the International Court of Justice at the Hague indicted Russian President Vladimir Putin on war crimes charges. They are related to an alleged scheme to forcefully deport Ukrainian children to Russia.
Putin and senior Russian official Maria Lvova-Belova were indicted and the court said the accompanying arrest warrant will remain in place for their lifetimes, restricting the number of countries to which they can travel without risk of extradition.
Turning to a key bilateral nuclear treaty from which Russia recently withdrew, Patel said the US offered to exchange its nuclear database with Moscow under the terms of the pact on a reciprocal basis, but the Kremlin told Washington that "it will not engage in this data exchange due to its purported suspension of this treaty."
"As we've said before, this suspension was legally invalid. Russia's failure to exchange this data will therefore be a violation of the treaty, adding on to its existing violations of the New START treaty," he said.
The New START Treaty was the last nuclear accord between Russia and the US. It imposed curbs on nuclear arsenals and established a verification system for the countries to use.