The International Criminal Court (ICC), investigating Russian war crimes in Ukraine, has received support from 45 countries, including the United States, all of the European Union states, Canada, Australia, and others, who have signed a declaration to aid in the investigation.
The signatories have pledged $20 million to support the ICC and the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office in the investigations.
War Crimes Are Accruing in Russia’s Military ‘Special Operation’
Currently, there are about 23,000 war crimes investigations open, and countries need to coordinate with one another to ensure the collection of evidence and not duplicate efforts. The Pentagon accused Russia of conducting war crimes as far back as March.
“We certainly see clear evidence that Russian forces are committing war crimes, and we are helping with collecting evidence of that,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing on March 21.
“But there are investigative processes that are going to go on, and we’re going to let that happen. We’re going to contribute to that investigative process,” he added. “As for what would come out of that, that’s not a decision that the Pentagon leadership would make.”
Conference at The Hague
After the conference conducted at The Hague, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Iryna Venediktova, spoke to the assembled press and held up a photograph of a small child that had been killed in an attack by the Russians.
“Today, 20 people were killed by Russian missiles, including three children, and 52 injured by Russian missiles, including children. And this information we have every day from morning to night, night to morning,” she said.
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the Netherlands is considering setting up its war crimes tribunal since Russia withdrew from the ICC after annexing Crimea in 2014 after an armed conflict. He said the Dutch government was driven to action by images of “innocent civilians being butchered with their hands tied behind their back, women, and men being raped and sometimes family members being forced to look at that.”
In its daily intelligence assessment, the UK Ministry of Defense wrote, “Over 2.5m people have been evacuated from Ukraine to Russia since the start of the invasion. Russia continues to face accusations that it is forcibly deporting Ukrainians; in many cases, Ukrainians have reportedly been mistreated in filtration camps set up by Russia.”
ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said The simple truth is that, as we speak, children, women and men, the young and the old, are living in terror.” At the conference, he added, “At a time like this, the law cannot be a spectator. The law cannot recline in comfort in the Hague, or anywhere else for that matter when it is meant to protect and uphold certain principles that are essential for humanity. Meaningful justice can only be achieved if we work together.”
The timeline for the ICC for the investigation of the war crimes conducted in Ukraine can be read here:
The Russians have frequently denied the targeting of civilians, they blamed the attack on a theater in Mariupol (Donetsk Regional Drama Theatre) that was used as an air raid shelter by civilians on the Ukrainian military. The building, which was clearly marked as housing children, was hit by missiles and resulted in more than 600 deaths.
The Russians said the recent missile attack on a 5-story apartment building in Vinnytsia with three Kaibr missiles was an attack on a Ukrainian military meeting, not a civilian target.
“Today in the morning, Russian missiles hit our city of Vinnytsia, an ordinary, peaceful city. Cruise missiles hit two community facilities, houses were destroyed, a medical center was destroyed, cars and trams were (set) on fire,” Ukrainian President Zelensky said by video link. “This is the act of Russian terror.”
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.