Putin Has Been Charged with War Crimes. Now What?
Post # 218, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary
How Does A Former U. S. President Praise a War Criminal so Designated Unanimously by Our U.S. Senate?
On March 15, 2022, the U..S. Senate voted unanimously that Russian President Vladimir Putin has committed war crimes in attacking its neighbor, the country of Ukraine. That action is very rare for America's most deliberate body and demonstrates the seriousness of Putin's alleged crimes. Putin's bombing of schools, hospitals and a maternity ward have been cited as the compelling causes of the charge. I have found few who know about international war crimes and what happens when they occur.
Here is a primer:
What Constitutes War Crimes? : They are generally attacking and killing innocent and unarmed citizens, elderly, children and prisoners of war. The definition is generally drawn from Geneva Conventions after World War II and other international acts of war.
Who Prosecutes the War Crimes?:
1. International Crime Court ("ICC"). 123 countries are signatures to the Rome Treaty, creating this Court. But some major countries supporting the Court are not members, like the United States and Russia. President George W. Bush did not want the ICC to have jurisdiction over the U.S. Military and Russia blocked the ICC when charged with illegal annexation of Crimea against it's will.
2. International Court of Justice ("ICJ"). It is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, located in the Hague (Netherlands). The Court focus is resolution of disputes or mediation among UN member nations. It reports to the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council. War crimes have not been prosecuted here in the past, but it could happen.
3. The United Nations Security Council ("UNSC"). Since major countries like the United States and Russia have veto power over actions by the UN Security Council, limiting
enforcement action. But due to the serious nature of Putin's alleged crimes, the full UN is investigating Putin through the UNSC High Commissioner for Human Relations, Michelle Bachelet.
4. National Atlantic Treaty Organization ("NATO"). This was the venue for the War Crimes charges brought by NATO against Yugoslavia President Slobodan Milosevic. He and his associates when convicted of numerous acts of War Crimes and are in prison today.
What Has to Happen to Prosecute War Crimes? Apprehension of the alleged war criminal. The country where the perpetrator resides must make them available to one of the four organizations above or one of them must secure by any legal means the individual, for trial. It is possible that the individual could find safety in a country with no extradition authority, but the chances of bounty hunters breaking that security are high, from past experiences.
Putin is a very smart killer. He knew what he had planned for Ukraine, because he did it before to Ukraine, Crimea, and Syria. He expects to be charged and no doubt has made plans to immunize himself from apprehension and adjudication. But the reach of NATO countries is long and fierce. It took several years to find Bin Laden, and get Hitler. But, they were found and brought to justice. That will be the case with Vladimir Putin. Not even his fans in America, former President Donald Trump and U. S. Senator Rand Paul (R., KY), will be able to save him.