July 2, 2022

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Summary of the news of the Russian war in Ukraine on April 4

Summary of the news of the Russian war in Ukraine on April 4

Several multi-storey buildings were destroyed in the city of Burdianka, northwest of Kyiv.

The horrific atrocities in Ukraine, allegedly at the hands of Russian forces, have amplified calls for war crimes charges against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Pictures of at least 20 bodies strewn across the street in Bucha, Ukraine, emerged over the weekend after Russian forces withdrew from the area, prompting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to call for an end to “Russian war crimes”. He also described the Russian bombing of hospitals and a theater housing children, as well as the alleged use of cluster bombs and so-called vacuum bombs in densely populated areas with many civilians, as war crimes.

Below is a very broad look at war crimes and the international justice movement.

What is a war crime?

The ICC has specific definitions of war crimes, which you can read about in this guide published by the ICC. Specifically, it could be targeting the civilian population, violating the Geneva Conventions, targeting certain groups of people, and more potential Russian war crimes.

There is a way to collect evidence from testimonies, satellite images, and other means to meet the burden of proof.

What is the International Criminal Court?

The ICC is based in The Hague (Netherlands) and was established by a treaty called the Rome Statute that was first introduced before the United Nations, and the ICC operates independently. Most countries are parties to the treaty, but there are significant and notable exceptions, such as Russia and the United States. And, of course, Ukraine.

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Who can be tried by the court?

The Court judges people, not states, and focuses on those who bear the greatest responsibility: leaders and officials. Although Ukraine is not a member of the court, it previously accepted its jurisdiction. Therefore, in theory, the court could accuse Putin of having previously ordered war crimes in Crimea.

However, the ICC does not conduct trials in absentia, so he must be extradited by Russia or arrested outside Russia. This seems unlikely.

How does the process begin at the International Criminal Court?

Court proceedings can be initiated in two ways: the national government or the United Nations Security Council can refer cases for investigation.

Russia, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has a veto over the council’s actions. It was requests from 39 national governments, mostly European, that launched the current investigation.

How long will these investigations continue?

If justice is generally moving slowly, international justice is hardly moving. Investigations at the International Criminal Court continue for many years. Only a few convictions were achieved.

How will the ICC case affect the dispute?

“For better or worse, the ICC investigation may affect the diplomatic space for negotiations,” says Ryan Goodman, a New York University law professor and co-editor of the Just Security Forum, online.

He said Putin and other Russians may not want to risk arrest if they travel outside the country.

He added that the investigation could weaken Putin at home. Russians may realize that this is another reason why Putin cannot continue to serve his country.

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