- Ukraine is investigating approximately 13,000 alleged war crimes, which happened during current Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In May 2022, one Russian soldier was sentenced to life in prison in a first war crimes trial.
Points to speak on ‘War crimes’:
- War too has rules. Soldiers should not attack civilians, healthcare workers etc., who are not fighting. Targeting civilians is a war crime.
- Some weapons such as chemical weapons and biological weapons should not be used. Using them is a war crime.
- Rules that are mentioned in the Geneva convention (1949), International humanitarian law are applicable for war.
- Not just the soldiers, but the persons who have commanding authority will also be punished if they have commanded or ignored the soldiers’ war crimes.
- Investigating war crimes and punishing the culprits as soon as possible can provide justice to the families of victims. The evidence and memories of eyewitnesses will also be fresh. Moreover, this can also deter future war crimes.
- During Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, many Russian soldiers are accused of committing war crimes such as intentionally killing civilians, robbing, committing rape, destroying residential buildings etc. Ukraine is investigating war crimes, and till now sentenced one Russian soldier to life in prison for shooting a civilian in the head.
- International Criminal Court (ICC), an intergovernmental organization has also sent a team to Ukraine to investigate war crimes. ICC investigates and prosecutes serious international crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Russia withdrew from the ICC in 2016 and is now not a party to ICC. So, ICC cannot prosecute its individuals. There is another way – United Nations Security Council (UNSC) can refer a non-party to ICC. But as Russia can veto this as a member of the UNSC.
- In general, social media platforms remove content that could cause violence. So, Facebook, YouTube and several other social media platforms reportedly removed content related to the Ukraine conflict for a good reason. But the law should be made to store this content separately to use that as evidence for investigating war crimes.
War too has rules. Attacking civilians is a war crime and soldiers can be punished for doing that. Not just the soldiers, but the persons who have commanding authority will also be punished if they have commanded or ignored the soldiers’ actions. Investigating war crimes and punishing the culprits as soon as possible can provide justice to the families of victims. The evidence and memories of eyewitnesses will also be fresh. Moreover, this can also deter future war crimes.
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