Butchers of Bucha must face justice

The JC Leader, 8 April 2022


1946: Members of the Tribunal (left), preside over the Nuremberg war crimes Trials. From left to right are : Colonel A F Volchlov (Russia), General J T Nikitchenko (Russia), Lord Justice Norman Birkett (Britain), The President Lord Justice Geoffrey Lawrence (Britain), Hon. Francis A Biddle (USA), Hon. John Parker (USA), and M. Henri Donnedieu De Vabres (France). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

April 08, 2022 11:56

The scenes in Bucha have shocked the world. The evidence appears overwhelming that Russia has committed monstrous war crimes, deliberately murdering civilians and raping women.

Russian spokesmen have claimed that this has all been faked by the Ukrainians but satellite images confirm the testimony of those civilians who survived.

The obvious next step would be an investigation by the International Criminal Court, but neither Russia nor Ukraine are members – and the ICC is not allowed to try defendants in absentia. That must not be allowed to stop those responsible for what happened in Bucha from facing justice.

As it is, it is surely unlikely that this has been the only site of Russian war crimes. One can only dread what may emerge in Mariupol. 

The UN is a non-starter as a possible venue for a trial, having proved entirely useless during this war as a body designed to uphold the rule of law (not least because of Russia’s presence on the Security Council).

The best option is for those nations which have fought to defend Ukraine to join together and appoint a panel of judges, convene a trial and begin the process now, working with the Ukrainian war crimes office which is already collecting evidence.

The Nuremberg model is a good one, and it is vital that – both alongside and subsequent to the military operation – those behind these appalling crimes face justice.

April 08, 2022 11:56

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