Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Russia to Prosecute Ukrainian War Crimes


Russia’s Investigative Committee pledged that it will sue those guilty of war crimes in Ukraine in accordance with international law. Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin asserted that the committee already launched criminal investigations into the killing of civilians and children and the use of illegal military tactics in southeastern Ukraine.
Kramatorsk_Ukraine_16April2014_1Markin’s assertion came after combat operations by forces loyal to Ukraine’s government in Kiev resulted in the death of scores of non-combatant civilians in the southeastern Ukrainian cities Donetsk, Slavyansk and Lughansk.
Both a school and a children’s hospital in the city of Slavyansk have been shelled within a matter of two days, when troops loyal to Kiev shelled residential areas with artillery and mortar rounds. Eyewitnesses reported to nsnbc that internationally banned munitions, including exploding large-caliber machine gun rounds have been used against non-combatant civilians.
Russia is not the only country stressing the illegality of Kiev’s military crackdown and war crimes against Ukraine’s rebelling regions, although most western governments have chosen to look the other way.
Sunday, three weeks ago, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded an immediate end to Kiev’s military crackdown. Addressing the press during a meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Berlin, Merkel warned Kiev that the use of Ukraine’s military against civilians is strictly prohibited. Merkel stressed that military forces only may be used to protect infrastructure and human life, “and even then” Merkel said, “the use of force must be proportional”.
Slavyansk_Ukraine_TankKiev has deployed about 15.000 troops with armored personnel carriers, tanks, artillery and mortars, as well as planes and helicopters to the region, plus an unknown number of paramilitary forces. The shelling of residential areas, including a school and children’s hospital, has led to the evacuation of hundreds of children.
Russia’s Investigative Committee responded on Friday, stressing that it will apply the principles and provisions of international law on those guilty of war crimes in Ukraine. Other than the calls from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, three weeks ago, Russia has stood rather isolated within the “international community” with regard to calling for an end to the crackdown.
Slavyansk Childrens Hospital
Slavyansk Childrens Hospital
The spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee,Vladimir Markin, implicitly noted the absence of calls for an end to the ongoing war crimes from the “international community. The Russian Itar-Tass news agency quoted Markin as saying:
“Those guilty in deaths of civilians and children must be prosecuted in line with all the provisions of international law. … And if not a single state in the world is capable to admit the evident facts that the Ukrainian authorities have been acting as criminals, Russia’s Investigative Committee will shoulder this responsibility by opening a criminal case. …The Investigative Committee is to start collecting evidence on each person involved in the crimes against peace and security of the humanity rather than just admitting facts of crimes against civilians”.
School No. 13 in Slavyansk.
School No. 13 in Slavyansk.
Markin accused western powers of hiding behind propaganda. He asserted that Russia would investigate and disclose these western powers like an emperor without clothes. Markin said:
“If politicians in Kiev and in the West prefer to live inside the propaganda reality, in the children’s story about the emperor’s new clothes, so these are their problems. … Here, in Russia, we will look into the facts with sober eyes, including the obvious reality of the country’s dismemberment and Ukraine’s failure to protect interests and freedoms of its citizens.”
The Investigative Committee has already launched criminal investigations, Markin stressed, saying:
“Russia’s Investigative Committee has instituted a criminal case against unidentified servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces, the National Guard and the Right Sector on charges of shelling the cities of Slaviansk, Kramatorsk, Donetsk, Mariupol and other localities around Donetsk and Lughansk and envisaged by Article 356, Part 1 of the Russian Criminal Code /the use of banned methods and tactics of war”.
Image: Lonpicman
Image: Lonpicman
It is so far unclear, whether prosecutions will be limited to the jurisdiction of Russian courts only, or whether the Russian government also will refer crimes committed in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
It is noteworthy, within this context, that the special tribunals and the ICC in The Hague, so far, have not prosecuted a single war crime committed by any NATO member state.
Among those who have been prosecuted in The Hague are, the late President of the Republic of Yugoslavisa Slobodan Milosevic, who died while in the custody of the court, the alleged murderers of Lebanese P.M. Rafiq Hariri, whose son, Saad Hariri has been implicated in arming Syrian “rebels”, including with chemical weapons, the President of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, who was ousted in a French-engineered coup d’état. One of the persons wanted by the ICC is Saif al-Islam, the son of the former head of state of Libya, Muammar Gadaffi, who was murdered during a NATO backed coup d’état in 2011.
Ch/L – nsnbc 31.05.2014
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