The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
Переклад цього матеріалу українською мовою з російської було автоматично здійснено сервісом Google Translate, без подальшого редагування тексту.
Bu məqalə Google Translate servisi vasitəsi ilə avtomatik olaraq rus dilindən azərbaycan dilinə tərcümə olunmuşdur. Bundan sonra mətn redaktə edilməmişdir.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague began considering the lawsuit of Ukraine against Russia: what does it threaten Putin with?

The International Court of Justice in The Hague began considering Ukraine's claim against Russia, reports Meduza.

Photo: Shutterstock

The subject of the lawsuit is the accusations of genocide, which the Russian side has repeatedly brought against Ukraine. It was the rescue of the inhabitants of Donbass from the genocide that Vladimir Putin explained the beginning of the “special military operation”. On February 26, Ukraine went to court, stating that Russia did not have any authority to do so. She also asked the UN court to take urgent interim measures and oblige Russia to stop hostilities. The Russian representatives refused to participate in the court, unlike the Ukrainian delegation.

“Today we are in a building called the Peace Palace, but at home, my country is threatened by an aggressive war. I am standing here in what is called the Great Hall of Justice, but at home, my fellow countrymen see only the injustice of Russian bombs and missiles that fall on our cities and regions. While I stand before the court, the Ukrainians are under deadly attacks. The danger hangs over millions of people, - said the representative of Ukraine in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Anton Korynevych. - The UN Human Rights Representative reports a significant number of civilian casualties. Russia's attack on Ukraine forced more than 1,5 million people to flee the country. More people have left their homes and remain inside the country. More than 15 people, most of them women and children, took refuge in the Kiev metro. There, in the subway, children are born. Hospitals are closing. All this is an everyday reality that people in Ukraine face now.”

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“Of course, this is not the first time Ukraine has directly experienced Russia's disregard for international law. Now the world sees the death that this neglect brings, and the hatred of her [Russia's] cruelty.
The fact that the seats of the Russian delegation [in today's court] are empty speaks for itself. They are not here in this court. They are on the battlefield waging an aggressive war against my country. This is how Russia resolves disputes. But Ukraine takes a different position and respects national law and this court.

Yet Russia knows that international law matters, otherwise why would it try to justify its aggression? This war, according to Russia, is to stop the genocide. I will quote the words of the President of Russia, which he said on the morning when he ordered the invasion of Ukraine. He said, "We must stop this nightmare, this genocide." The purpose of the war, he said, is to protect people from genocide. This is a terrible lie! Putin is lying, and Ukrainians, our citizens, are dying,” he said.
“It is not Ukraine that is carrying out genocide. This is Russia, its political leadership and military personnel are committing crimes against humanity and war crimes on the territory of Ukraine.

Over the past two weeks, many people have been reminiscing about the Second World War. Russia desecrates the memory of the Holocaust by claiming to "denify" Ukraine. "Denazifies" Ukraine from its democratic government.

I have heard some point out that Europe has not seen such aggression and conflict since World War II. Indeed, it is appropriate to recall the Second World War, but for other reasons. We must remember that in World War II, Ukrainians and Russians fought together and died together to stop evil.

We must remember that on the ashes of Europe, after the Second World War, the world built the modern pillars of international law. Two of these pillars are the most important. The world has witnessed aggression and responded to it with the UN Charter. The world witnessed the Holocaust and responded to it with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The world said "Never again" to the two evils of Nazism - aggression and genocide. Unfortunately, today Russia has distorted these words. It does not regard the obligation to prevent and punish acts of genocide as sacred. She uses it as a weapon. Falsely accusing it of genocide, Russia is using one of the pillars of the modern international legal order to destroy another pillar. By falsely accusing it of genocide to justify its aggression, Russia is desecrating the Genocide Convention,” Korinevich said.

“The case of Ukraine is simple. Russia accuses Ukraine of genocide. Ukraine denies this accusation in the strongest terms. And we will prove it. Russia says that in order to stop a non-existent genocide, it can invade a sovereign state - Ukraine. Ukraine rejects these baseless allegations of a crime.

My message to Russia is: let's resolve our dispute as civilized nations. Lay down your weapons, present your evidence. Ukraine respects this court and follows its decisions. Russia should too.

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But if Russia itself does not return to compliance with international law, the court has the opportunity to act. The court has a duty to act. Russia belongs to your jurisdiction under the Genocide Convention. Now she is insulting and violating this convention in order to kill Ukrainians and destroy Ukraine. Russia must be stopped! And the court should be involved in this,” he said.

What does this mean for Putin?

“Since I occasionally meet skepticism, I will explain a little about the investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court,” says People's Deputy of Ukraine, lawyer Leonid Yemets. “We are talking about a real investigation and real sentences. Specific people. With specific prisons. And with a maximum term - life imprisonment.

“Once such sentences are handed down on Putin and others involved in crimes, they should sit in their bunkers and never poke outside their borders. And this is while they control power in their country.

If/when they lose it, no matter how old they get, they will spend the rest behind bars. These crimes have no statute of limitations. Morally and legally,” he said.

But not everything can be so rosy.

Putin and African dictators

On March 4, 2009, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, for the first time in history, issued an arrest warrant for the current head of a sovereign state, long-term Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, accused of involvement in genocide and war crimes during one of the conflicts between the central government of the country and Sudanese rebels, reports Forbes.

Despite this, Al-Bashir remained President of Sudan and was only removed ten years later in a coup. All this time, he freely traveled to other countries (mainly in Africa), but was never arrested.

However, the importance of the ICC decision on al-Bashir should not be underestimated, said the director of the Center for Transitional Justice of the National Law University. Yaroslav the Wise Oksana Senatorova. “The Court emphasized that in case of committing international crimes and being prosecuted for this in the ISS, other states have an obligation to arrest and bring this person to the Court,” she explains. – In addition, the states parties to the Conventions have an obligation to bring such criminals to justice in their jurisdictions. Given the reaction of the world community in the case of Russian crimes in Ukraine, Putin will have nowhere to hide, except for Russia itself or other dictatorships.”

Ukraine recognizes the jurisdiction of the ICC on its territory, so there is no reason why the court could refuse to consider the crimes of the Russian military against the Ukrainian population. Liability according to Art. 28 of the Rome Statute of the ICC, applies not only to those who directly gave orders, but also to senior management, if the court considers that it did not properly control its subordinates.

However, there are not so many real cases when politicians were really punished for their inhumane crimes in the history of the ISS, which has existed since 2002. On the other hand, a person of the level of Putin, the president of a large world state, has never been in the focus of the ISS. 31 persons involved in the cases heard in court are representatives of African countries.

One of the few cases that have reached a real verdict is the case of the former President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jean-Pierre Bemba. In 2006, he was sentenced on charges of war crimes during his presidency - 18 years in prison. Bemba spent 11 years behind bars. In 2018, he managed to overturn the verdict on appeal. He has now returned to the DRC, where he continues to engage in politics. He also demands compensation of almost $69 million from the ISS.

The attention of the world community to the war in Ukraine paves the way for another option for determining those responsible for war crimes - an international tribunal.

However, this has not yet been discussed. The complexity of this option, as Senatorova explains, is that the creation of the tribunal should be initiated by the UN Security Council, of which Russia is a permanent member. The United States understands that the Russian Federation is abusing its status in the UN, but so far does not see an opportunity to exclude the country from the Security Council, as White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The advantage of the tribunal, according to Senatorova, is in compulsory jurisdiction - all states are obliged to cooperate with the investigation and transfer suspects to court. In the ISS, the situation is different - unlike the tribunal, the states that have not ratified the Rome Statute, the main document for the work of the court (123 states are participants, but not Russia), have the opportunity to ignore the investigation and its results.

In May 1991, a similar international tribunal was set up to investigate crimes during the war in the former Yugoslavia. There were many reasons for this - from civilian murders to the "senseless destruction of cities." The Tribunal completed its work only in 2017. During this time, charges were brought against 161 people, 90 received sentences.

Among the defendants were top politicians: ex-President of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic, former vice-president of Serbia Vojislav Seselj, the first president of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina Radovan Karadzic and the Bosnian-Serb general Ratko Mladic.

They were found guilty of genocide, however, Milosevic dragged out the process as best he could and died before the verdict. Despite this, according to Senatorova, the tribunal was of great historical importance, because it shed light on historical events and the role of other officials in the crimes.

As ForumDaily wrote earlier:

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