War in Ukraine. Can Vladimir Putin be condemned by a court?

International pressure is increasing day by day on Russia, which continues its offensive in Ukraine. On Monday, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced the opening of an investigation, citing “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”. Kiev had the day before accused Russia before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the main judicial body of the United Nations, of planning a genocide in Ukraine.

But concretely, what does Vladimir Putin risk? Can the Russian president be condemned by a court? We take stock of the legal implications surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Has Russia broken international law?

Yes. As Geoff Gordon, senior researcher at the Asser Institute of International and European Law, told AFP, Russia violated Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter, which prohibits the use of force in international level.

In the FinancialTimes, Philippe Sands, a professor of international law working in the United Kingdom, adds that “the use of Russian military force is not unknown” in Ukraine. But “today (…) rules exist to protect us from such actions, reflected in the Charter of the United Nations, the closest we have to an international Constitution. These are the most important Charter commitments that Putin has shredded. His televised speech came up with a fanciful set of reasons to justify an invasion,” argues the professor.

CIP, ECHR, ICJ… Which courts to try cases related to Ukraine?

Ukraine has seized the International Court of Justice (ICJ). According to researcher Geoff Gordon, it will certainly organize hearings on its competence. National courts can also try cases related to the violation of international law.

Russia could also be brought before the European Court of Human Rights, which Kiev has seized under an emergency procedure, for violation of human rights. On Tuesday, the ECHR also urged Moscow to “refrain from any military attack against civilians and civilian objects” in Ukraine. Exceptionally, the Italian-Icelandic president of this jurisdiction Robert Spano personally examined Kiev’s request.

As for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ukraine has not signed the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of this court. But, in 2014, the country officially recognized the jurisdiction of the Court for crimes committed on its territory. Russia has withdrawn from the ICC, so the court cannot prosecute Russian individuals on Russian soil, but only if they are arrested on the territory of a state that recognizes its jurisdiction.

Can individuals be held responsible?

Yes. The ICC prosecutes those accused of the world’s worst atrocities: genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Individuals can also be tried in national courts.

However, even the ICC cannot prosecute the crime of aggression – the attack by one state against another planned by a political or military leader – if that country has not ratified the Rome Statute, which it is. of Russia and Ukraine. In the FinancialTimesProfessor Philippe Sands, however, suggested creating an international criminal tribunal dedicated to Russian aggression against Ukraine.

What are the risks for Vladimir Putin?

Hard to say. The ICJ – which adjudicates disputes between countries – will first decide whether it has jurisdiction to deal with the merits of the case. Questioned by AFP, Cecily Rose, assistant professor of public international law at the University of Leiden, indicated that hearings and a decision by the ICJ could take place in the coming weeks, or even before, given “the emergency”. But even if the court condemns the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, it does not have the means to enforce its decisions and enforce a possible ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian troops, specifies C news.

As for the ICC, it could issue indictments if the judges deem it has jurisdiction and there is sufficient evidence or if a member state refers the case directly to that court. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said he was “convinced that there is a reasonable basis to believe that alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine”. It targets in particular the bombings that occurred in Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine. The UN on Monday cited 102 civilians killed and 304 injured, adding that the actual figures were “significantly” higher. Ukraine, for its part, reported on Monday 352 civilians killed and 2,040 injured since the Russian invasion and said that thousands of Russian soldiers had perished.

As pointed out Marianne, it is a priori Vladimir Putin who bears the greatest responsibility for the alleged facts, since he is the one who gave the order for the offensive in Ukraine. The master of the Kremlin could therefore be the subject of a procedure. But even if Vladimir Putin is the subject of an international arrest warrant, the ICC does not have its own police force and should rely on member states to arrest him, as the accused must be present at his trial.

About Eshan William 92304 Articles
A 25 years old blogger. Other than gaming, I like watching documentaries and working on cars. A hardcore PC gamer is what I have always been and always will be.