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House Intelligence Committee Members Urge IC to Support Humanitarian Efforts, Declassify and Catalogue Potential War Crimes

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WASHINGTON, March 22, 2022 | Rachel Walker (202-308-8930) | comments
Ranking Member Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and a bipartisan group of members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, delivered a letter to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, urging the Intelligence Community to prioritize its unique resources and capabilities to defend human rights in Ukraine.
 
Russia has stepped up the brutality of its unprovoked war against Ukraine with deadly attacks against civilian infrastructure, members of the press, and thousands of innocent civilians, including children. Earlier this month, 39 countries referred the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court due to numerous allegations of serious war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russian forces. The IC’s unparalleled insight into the events happening on the ground means it is in a unique position to support humanitarian efforts, as well as to preserve intelligence that will be critically important in future war crimes proceedings.
 
“As Russia intensifies its indiscriminate killing of Ukrainians, we believe it is vital the IC continues maximizing intelligence sharing with our Ukrainian and international partners, and declassifying intelligence that reveals Russia’s malign intentions and actions, including any potential war crimes. In this ongoing conflict, each day matters, and we hope that, in coordination with our diplomats, you consider all the ways in which you can leverage IC capabilities to help save lives of Ukrainian civilians,” the members wrote in the letter.
 
Specifically, the letter calls for the IC to prioritize:
  • Disclosing or declassifying intelligence that could protect endangered Ukrainian civilians, such as identifying safe evacuation corridors;
  • Declassifying information on Russia’s planned or actual acts that could amount to war crimes, particularly the use of chemical weapons; and
  • Documenting and cataloging Russian actions in Ukraine that could inform future potential war crimes proceedings.
 
“Though the possibility of accountability appears distant today, we have a responsibility to bear witness,” the members continued. “The present moment tests our collective resolve to defend human rights and freedoms.”
 
Click here to read the full letter.
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