Putin Could Face War Crimes Charges As International Criminal Court Opens Investigation

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan has announced that he will open an investigation into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The prosecutor wrote in a statement:

I have reviewed the Office’s conclusions arising from the preliminary examination of the Situation in Ukraine, and have confirmed that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with opening an investigation. In particular, I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine in relation to the events already assessed during the preliminary examination by the Office. Given the expansion of the conflict in recent days, it is my intention that this investigation will also encompass any new alleged crimes falling within the jurisdiction of my Office that are committed by any party to the conflict on any part of the territory of Ukraine.

I have already tasked my team to explore all evidence preservation opportunities. The next step is to proceed with the process of seeking and obtaining authorisation from the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Court to open an investigation. An alternative route set out in the Statute that could further expedite matters would be for an ICC State Party to refer the situation to my Office, which would allow us to actively and immediately proceed with the Office’s independent and objective investigations.

I will also be asking for the support of all States Parties and the international community as a whole as my Office sets about its investigations. I will be calling for additional budgetary support, for voluntary contributions to support all our situations, and for the loan of gratis personnel. The importance and urgency of our mission is too serious to be held hostage to lack of means.

Putin Could Be Charged With War Crimes

The announcement by the ICC is another concrete move to show that Europe and the world are acting quickly in response to Putin’s invasion. The Russian leader could never have expected that the global reaction would be so fast and severe.

Putin, his top allies, and military leaders could all be on trial at The Hague someday for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

It doesn’t matter if Russia would pull out of Ukraine today. The prosecutor noted that there is already enough evidence to launch a war crimes investigation.

Putin has thus far failed to conquer Ukraine, failed to reform the Soviet Union, but he has been successful in uniting most of the world behind the goal of seeing him behind bars.

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