These days are filled with historic decisions, marking a turning point in the process of bringing to justice all those guilty of crimes committed in Ukraine, starting with the top leader of the Russian state. On 17 March, the International Criminal Court issued a life-long arrest warrant against President Putin and his co-partner Maria Lvova-Belova for the alleged war crimes of unlawful deportation of children from the occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation (according to the official statistics, their number has already reached 16000).
There is another undeniable evidence of Russia’s blatant violations of not even the international law, but the core principles of humanity. March 31, 2023 marks one year since the Russian invaders have been ousted from the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region. It has become the symbol of Russian crimes of unprecedented scale. Ukrainian defenders have discovered in the town dozens of dead bodies of civilians bearing signs of torture scattered across it. The whole world has seen the consequences of Bucha’s 1-month-long occupation by the Russian forces.
Today the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine are being investigated by Ukraine and by a number of other states, as well as by the International Criminal Court (ICC). But the ICC in the situation of the Russian aggression against Ukraine cannot exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. Currently there is no international court or tribunal which would have jurisdiction over this particular crime.
Thus, the Special Tribunal which will have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute for the crime of aggression against Ukraine must be established. All the horrific mass atrocity and crimes committed by the Russian military in Bucha during its temporary occupation, all these war crimes and crimes against humanity in Mariupol, Irpin, Hostomel, Borodianka and many other cities are the result of committing the “original sin”, “mother of all crimes” – the crime of aggression. The Special Tribunal will cover the crime of aggression as the crime which is the reason for dozens of thousands of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
But for now, Russian missiles can be countered not by court decisions, but by modern weapons in the hands of the Defence Forces of Ukraine. What has happened in Bucha and is taking place, day by day, in the territories of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia, should not seem “mundane” to the world. In the end, if Russian political and military leadership is not taken to justice for its crime of aggression, it may repeat itself anywhere on the planet.
Embassy of Ukraine in Kuwait