When we observe entire cities devastated, the continuous transfer of refugees where children abound and the innumerable deaths that the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation commanded by Vladimir Putin we wonder Can something like this be done without incurring any liability? Will Putin end up sitting on the bench for war crimes or crimes against humanity? Will it go unpunished?
With the codes in hand, There are four courts that can end up holding Putin accountable or his generals. Let’s see what their skills are and how far they can go:
What actions has Spain initiated against Putin, protected by international law?
Activate international criminal jurisdiction from the National High Court Prosecutor’s Office and join a collective lawsuit before the International Criminal Court (CPI). It’s about the double judicial route chosen by Spain against the escalation of war crimes committed by the Government of Vladimir Putin against the Ukrainian people.
What has been done from the Spanish Prosecutor’s Office?
The State Attorney General, Dolores Delgado, has signed a decree instructing the chief prosecutor of the National Court, Jesús Alonso, to investigate the Russian “aggression” against Ukraine, a country in which Spanish citizens reside who, according to the Public Ministry, are being ” victims” of actions illegal by the Russian Federation.
Since 2009, as a result of a reform called for by the PP, Spanish justice can only prosecute cases of genocide and crimes against humanity “When there are victims of Spanish nationality, any link of relevant connection with Spain is contrasted or the alleged perpetrators are in Spanish territory”. Therefore, in the case of the invasion of Ukraine, the National High Court could only investigate the Putin government for the effects of its actions on Spanish victims. If so determined and if they step on Spanish territory, they could be arrested, and even urge their extradition if they were arrested in third countries, something highly unlikely.
What is the International Court of Justice?
The International Court of Justice, based in The Hague, is the main judicial organ of the United Nations Organization. It is headquartered at the Peace Palace in The Hague (The Netherlands) and is responsible for deciding legal disputes between states.
Regarding the conflict in Ukraine, this court ordered Russia last Wednesday to immediately stop the offensive over Ukraine, in application of the precautionary measures requested by the Ukrainian authorities for the alleged falsity of the Russian justifications to start the invasion. Volodimir Zelensky’s government accuses Moscow of violating the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (1948), ratified by both countries. But Russia has not even appeared in the case, and reality seems to confirm that the Russian Federation does not feel concerned by the decisions of this body.
What is the scope of the other court in The Hague, the International Criminal Court?
It is a permanent international court of justice whose mission is to try people accused of committing crimes of genocide, war, aggression and crimes against humanity. It entered into force on July 1, 2002 after its ratification by 60 countries, including Spain, although it suffers from notable absences such as the Russian Federation itself, that does not recognize its jurisdiction like other great powers, such as USA and China.
Last Tuesday, Spain officially joined the demand presented by the international community (40 countries in total) against Putin before this body. They did so by signing a letter addressed to the prosecutor of this court, Karim AA Khanurging him to investigate possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide that could have been committed in the invasion of Ukraine.
The chances of success are slim, since Russia signed the ratification of the Rome Statute that regulates this body, although In addition to not ratifying ittook another step, with all its symbolism, on November 16, 2016, when revoked his signature. The only chance to act will pass, in the event that Russia ends up defeated in this war or there is a change of regime, due to the remote possibility that Putin or his generals take refuge in a country subjected to the CPI that order his arrest and surrender to this body to stand trial.
What is the role of the European Court of Human Rights?
Outside the international sphere, within the Council of Europe (which brings together 46 countries), the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) operates with headquarters in Strasbourg, which prosecute cases that pit individuals against states who can be sentenced to pay a fine por violate any article of the European Convention on Human Rights to which the analyzes of this body are limited. Since the beginning of its activity, Russia accumulates almost three thousand convictions for violation of this agreement.
On March 1, at the beginning of the invasion, the ECHR ordered Russia to stop attacks against civilians and against their property in Ukraine, including residential buildings, emergency vehicles, schools, and hospitals. He did so at the request of the Ukrainian government, which requested precautionary measures under article 39, which establishes the possibility of adopting urgent resolutions when there is an “imminent” risk of “irreparable” damage.
As the reality of war has reflected, this order has also been left on deaf ears. In addition, Putin will no longer have to attend to the requirements of this body after en March 16, the Council of Europe expelled Russia, in a unprecedented decision due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.