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Katherine Pompilio
Monday, April 18, 2022, 3:52 PM

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John Bellinger appeared on NPR’s “All Things Considered” podcast to discuss why the U.S. does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and how the U.S. could help to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine. Bellinger spoke with NPR’s Michel Martin and explained that the U.S. does not formally recognize the court because of fears that ICC prosecutors will be given too much unchecked power and target U.S. soldiers with politically-motivated prosecutions. Despite the U.S.’s failure to recognize the court’s jurisdiction, Bellinger argues that the U.S. government can still support the ICC’s investigation of Russia because “the United States is not concerned about everything that the ICC does.” So long as the ICC does not begin investigating politically motivated cases of the U.S. or other countries, the U.S. can support the ICC’s investigations of criminal crimes that have yet to be investigated by the country that allegedly committed them. Bellinger also stated that while he believes the U.S. should be a member of the ICC, "that ship sailed back in 1998." He argued that even though the U.S. is not a member of the ICC, both Democratic and Republican administrations should support the court in its investigations of international crimes. 

Humanitarian corridors intended to evacuate Ukrainians trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol remained closed on Sunday because of failed negotiations between Ukrainian and Russian officials, reports NPR. An estimated 100,000 civilians remain trapped in the city and more than 10,000 have died since the beginning of the Russian attacks, according to Mariupol’s mayor. Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk wrote in a post on Telegram that despite the failed negotiations, “We demand the opening of a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of civilians, especially women and children.” 

Russian forces fired thousands of potentially lethal darts into the Ukrainian town of Bucha, writes the Washington Post. The darts—called fléchettes—look like small arrows and measure approximately three centimeters in length. The small projectiles were popular during World War I but are reportedly not commonly used in modern warfare. Fléchettes are designed to be packed into shells and scatter across a large area upon an explosion. The darts fired in Bucha landed in the town’s streets and on the properties of residents. 

North Korea test-fired a new weapon that is designed to strengthen the country's nuclear capacity, according to the AP News. The North Korean state news agency reported that the tactical guild weapons tested has “great significance in drastically improving the firepower of the front-line long-range artillery units, enhancing the efficiency in the operation of (North Korea’s) tactical nukes and diversification of their firepower missions.” This test was North Korea’s 13th weapons test in 2022. 

At least 443 people were killed by floods and mudslides in South Africa, reports the Hill. Heavy storms in the KwaZulu-Natal province led to the natural disasters that the region's officials claim are “among the worst the province has ever seen.” The storms have left thousands homeless, disabled water and power services and also halted operations at Durban—South Africa’s busiest port. Sixty-three residents of the province remain unaccounted for amid the disasters.  

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched U.S. spy satellites into orbit, writes CNN. The launch was executed in coordination with the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. While details about the launch remain classified, independent space analysts speculate that the Falcon 9 was carrying two Naval Ocean Surveillance System satellites that can electronically monitor and locate ships in the ocean, according to CBS News. 

The White House coronavirus response coordinator instructed Americans ages 60 and older to receive a second booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the New York Times. Dr. Ashish K. Jha reported that a fourth dose of the vaccine “significantly reduced infections and deaths among older people.” According to the Food and Drug Administration, individuals 50 and older are eligible for second booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines. 

ICYMI: This Weekend on Lawfare

Jonathan D. Caverley and Lucas F. Hellemeier argued that Germany's new commitment to increasing its defense spending and modernizing its military will take years to pay dividends.

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Katherine Pompilio is an associate editor of Lawfare. She holds a B.A. with honors in political science from Skidmore College.

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