Today’s Headlines and Comments – Lawfare
The first Russian soldier to be tried for war crimes in Ukraine admitted to killing an unarmed civilian, reports the Wall Street Journal. In Ukraine’s first war crimes trial since the Russian invasion began, Vadim Shishimarin has confessed to shooting and killing a 62-year-old unarmed man in the Ukrainian town of Chupakhivka. The trial will likely continue over the next few days as Ukrainian prosecutors and Shishimarin’s lawyers debate whether or not the shooting qualifies as a war crime. If Shishimarin is convicted, he faces a life sentence.
Ukrainian authorities have filed war crimes charges against two other Russian soldiers, writing the Washington Post. Prosecutors allege the two soldiers worked together to target Ukrainian civilians in the Kharkiv region using a truck-mounted rocket launcher. One of the defendants allegedly drove the truck while the other used the rocket launcher to shoot at civilians.
President Biden officially endorses Finland and Sweden’s bids to join NATO, according to the New York Times. Biden promised that while considering their alliance candidacies, the United States will work with Finland and Sweden to help protect against any threats to the nations’ shared security. Biden also stressed that the United States would help Finland and Sweden “deter and confront aggression or the threat of aggression.”
The Justice Department submitted a request to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol for transcripts of closed-door interviews conducted by the panel., according to the New York Times. The House committee – which lacks the ability to prosecute those suspected of being involved in the attack – has reportedly conducted more than 1,000 closed-door interviews so far in its investigation. According to the Times, the Justice Department plans to potentially use the transcripts as evidence to pursue potential criminal cases or new leads in investigations of those involved in the Jan. 6 attack. Assistants to the panel representatives have not yet reached an agreement. with the Department of Justice on the content and amount of material that will be shared.
President Biden traveled to Asia on Thursday to meet with allies in South Korea and Japan, writing CNN. In his first trip on the continent as president, Biden reportedly intends to work to strengthen alliances amid global instability exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In Seoul, Biden will meet with South Korea’s newly elected president, and in Tokyo, he will hold bilateral talks with the Japanese prime minister as well as other leaders from Japan, Australia and India. In the meetings, Biden is expected to address growing nuclear threats from North Korea and will try to expand economic cooperation, especially in the production of advanced technologies.
The Justice Department charged a US citizen and four Chinese intelligence agents with spying, reports Reuters. According to the indictment, Wang Shujun, a New York resident, worked with the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) to illegally collect information on Chinese dissidents, human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists living in the United States. The four MSS officials named in the indictment – Feng He, Jie Ji, Ming Li and Keqing Lu – remain at large. Wang is in custody.
ICYMI: Yesterday, Straight
Jen Patja Howell share an episode of the Lawfare Podcast which featured a conversation between Quinta Jurecic, Roger Parloff and Jonathan David Shaub about the Steve Bannon contempt suit.
Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck share an episode of the National Security Law podcast in which they discussed the leak(s) associated with the Supreme Court’s Dobbs case and what a war crimes analysis applied to the operation led by the Russian GRU to shut down the Ukrainian network during the period after the occupation of Crimea but before the current invasion.
Jordan Schneider share an episode of ChinaTalk which featured a conversation with Erich Schwartzel on the world of Chinese cinema, Chinese films abroad and China in Hollywood.
Myroslav Layuk discussed the deportation of Crimean Tatars and other genocides committed by Russia in Ukraine.
Bryce Klehm post the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s interim report on the collapse of the Afghan security forces.
Klehm too post the report of the Office of the Inspector General of the Ministry of Defense on the reprisals against Colonel Yevgeny Vindman.
howell too share an episode of Rational security in which Jurecic, Alan Rozenshtein and Scott R. Anderson were joined by Klehm to discuss the recent mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, and the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 decision to subpoena five House Republicans.
Katherine Pompilio post a lawsuit filed by a group of Wisconsin voters against twelve individuals who allegedly conspired to nullify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Rohini Kurup post a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department seeking to compel Republican casino mogul and megadonor Steve Wynn to register as a Chinese government agent.
Kurup too post the replacement indictment of Thomas Barrack, former adviser to former President Trump, which includes new allegations of his alleged efforts to try to influence the Trump campaign and administration at the direction of UAE officials United.
E-mail the Roundup team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional comments on these issues. Register to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Consult the relevant job offers on our job board.