The crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine have caused disgust in the whole civilized world. The debate over how Russia could be held accountable for the relentless bombing of cities and other populated areas of Ukraine and even more so for non-military targets, such as residential neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, has already begun. , theaters, malls, and even churches.
In Mariupol alone – and it is only part of the devastation caused by the invading army – it is estimated that at least 391 buildings of this type have been affected, mainly schools and health facilities. In Kharkov, at least 60 schools have been hit, some of which have been destroyed, and the picture is similar in many other areas. Based on the amount of information that has now been collected, the Attorney General at the International Criminal Court in The Hague has launched a formal investigation against Russia for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. But what do these terms mean, how do international law define them, and why could Russia and the Putin regime be prosecuted for these crimes?
Three charges and genocide
War crimes are defined by the Geneva Conventions, the precedent of the Nuremberg Trials after World War II, an older area of law referred to as the Laws and Customs of War, and more recently, in the case of the war in the former Yugoslavia, the Statute. of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. They fall into three categories – or four, if genocide is added to them.
The first is the crimes against peace: planning, preparing, launching and declaring an aggressive war or a war that violates international conventions, agreements and assurances. It is defined as participation in a plan or conspiracy to commit any of the above.
The second is war crimes. Defined as: atrocities or offenses against persons or property in a manner which constitutes a breach of the laws or customs of war, murder, ill-treatment or deportation for slave labor or any other purpose of the civilian population in the occupied territories, or killing or killing killings, hostage-taking, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, looting of public or private property, arbitrary destruction of cities, towns or villages, and destruction not justified by military necessity.
The third category is crimes against humanity, defined as atrocities and crimes committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, including: murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, mass rape and systematic rape. war crimes and other inhumane acts, persecution for political, racial or religious reasons for the execution or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the court, whether or not it violates the domestic law of the country where it was committed.
The extent of the disaster is key
Prominent lawyers point out, however, that the existence of such incidents alone does not in itself prove the commission of crimes. However, what burdens Russia's position and here is a wide international convocation, is the number of blows and their extent. That is, it's the inability of Moscow to claim that it hit these targets either by mistake or because they were not, but something else, given the systematic leveling of residential areas and their constant bombardment sometimes, for weeks. It is also indicative of the fact that Moscow in no case officially acknowledged such incidents and under the weight of solid evidence in countless cases chooses not to touch the substance, such as. in the bombing of an maternity hospital in Mariupol. There, she claimed that there were no pregnant women and midwives, which of course was refuted by the story of the woman who was transported injured with her baby and who later died, as well as her child. Under these circumstances, any defense of such actions and to such an extent is considered extremely problematic.