The United States Senate has passed a bill that will now allow federal authorities to prosecute war criminals on US soil, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrators or victims.
The legislation which has been named the Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act, was passed late in December 2022 and is an update of the current War Crimes Act which only allows for the prosecution of people who commit war crimes in the US or abroad, and only if the victim or perpetrator is a US citizen or member of the US service such as the marines, air force, among others.
However, the new bill would see the prosecution of non-US nationals who commit war crimes elsewhere and enter the US. Up until now, the former legislation did not allow for this. But the current legislation closes this loophole by seeing to it that anyone who commits war crimes anywhere – regardless of their nationality – can be tried for those crimes in the United States.
The legislation has already received wide approval from the US Justice Department, State Department, and Defense Department as well as from the White House. It is now waiting for final approval from President Joe Biden.
The law also paves the way for the US to try leaders of other countries perpetrating war crimes against activists fighting for their rights in their countries. What this legislation does in the particular case of the conflict between La Republique du Cameroun and The Southern Cameroons is that Ambazonians families in the United States can finally begin to sue Cameroun leaders who engage in War Crimes in Ambazonia.