THE HAGUE: US attorney-general Merrick Garland on Monday made a rare visit to the International Criminal Court, the body said, during a trip to Europe focused on action against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Washington has never ratified the Treaty of Rome, the founding text of the court, which is based in The Hague.
The previous US administration even issued sanctions against it, for its investigation in Afghanistan.
Garland is in Europe “to meet with international counterparts to discuss holding Russia accountable and other shared law enforcement priorities”, said the US justice department, which described the ICC visit as “historic”.
The ICC, created in 2002 to judge the world’s worst atrocities, posted on Twitter a video of Garland meeting its prosecutor, Karim Khan, and president, Piotr Hofmanski.
In March, the court issued an arrest warrant against Putin for allegedly unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.
Moscow, which is also not party to the ICC, dismissed the orders as “void”.
Dutch foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra welcomed Garland to The Hague, which is also home to the Netherlands government.
“We discussed the US’ support for the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression, which will open on 3 July at Eurojust,” Hoekstra posted on Twitter.
The centre – also based in the Dutch city – will focus on crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.
“We also spoke about our common efforts for compensation for victims of Russian war crimes through the Register for Damages,” Hoekstra added.
“The Netherlands and the US remain committed to achieving accountability for Ukraine.”
On Tuesday, Garland will head to Sweden for meetings with ministers there as well as EU chiefs, his department said.