Skip to content

What could be the legal responsibilities of Russia for the invasion of Ukraine?

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (CPI) indicated that it had opened an investigation into the situation in Ukraine for accusations of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” committed by Russia.

SIGHT: War crimes in Ukraine: prosecutor of the International Criminal Court asks to open an investigation

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), of the UN, convened hearings on March 7 and 8 on complaints filed by Ukraine, on actions of the Russian troops that invaded the country.

  • International Court of Justice convenes hearings on the war in Ukraine on March 7 and 8
  • Can Russia be expelled from the UN Security Council?
  • Russia demands the United States withdraw its nuclear weapons from Europe

Here are five questions about the legal situation after the invasion.

– Did Russia break international law?:

Russia violated Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter, which prohibits the use of force at the international level, says Geoff Gordon, a senior fellow at the Hague-based Asser Institute for International and European Law.

“The use of Russian military force is not unknown” in Ukraine, added Philippe Sands, a professor of international law who works in the United Kingdom.

But “today (…) there are rules to protect us from such acts, reflected in the UN Charter, the closest thing we have to an international Constitution,” Sands warns in an article in the Financial Times.

“It is the most important commitments of the Charter that (Vladimir) Putin has underestimated,” he says.

– What courts can judge matters related to Ukraine?:

Ukraine appeared before the ICJ (International Court of Justice), which will hold hearings on March 7 and 8 to determine its legal competence in this case, says Gordon.

In addition, national courts can also judge cases related to violations of international law, it adds.

Russia could also have to appear before the European Court of Human Rights, being accused by Kiev of violations in that area.

Ukraine is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, however, in 2014 it formally recognized its jurisdiction over crimes committed on its territory.

Russia, for its part, has withdrawn from the ICC, which is why it cannot prosecute Russian citizens on Russian soil, but only if they are detained on the territory of a state that does recognize its jurisdiction.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) said Tuesday that it will hold hearings on March 7 and 8 in a case brought to it by Ukraine, which accuses Russia of plotting genocide.

The presiding judge of the Court, Joan Donoghue, drew Russia’s attention “to the need to act in such a way that any decision of the Court can have the desired effects,” said the ICJ, the main judicial body of the United Nations, based in Hague.

– Can individuals be held responsible?

Yes. The ICC prosecutes those accused of the worst atrocities committed in the world, which includes genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Individuals can also be prosecuted by national courts.

However, even the ICC cannot judge the crime of aggression — the attack by one state against another planned by a political or military leader — if that country has not ratified the Rome Statute, which is the case with Russia and Ukraine.

However, Sands suggested creating an international (‘ad hoc’) criminal court devoted to Russian aggression against Ukraine.

– What’s next?:

According to Cecily Rose, assistant professor of public international law at the University of Leiden (Netherlands), the hearings and the decision of the ICJ could come soon due to “urgency”.

As for the ICC, it could issue indictments if the magistrates determine that it has sufficient jurisdiction and evidence, or if a member state brings the case directly to that court.

– What effects will it have?

Difficult to predict, according to experts.

The ICJ, whose sentences are final and unappealable, “does not have a classic application mechanism” to enforce them, Gordon points out.

For its part, the ICC does not have its own police force and relies on member states to make arrests.

“On the other hand, we are witnessing the mobilization of a series of more or less coordinated mechanisms, whose objective is to punish Russia for waging an illegal war”, such as economic sanctions, travel restrictions and the cancellation of sporting events, says Gordon.

“An ICJ ruling could play a role in such actions in the future,” he estimates.

  • “Take my daughter”: The cry of an Argentine journalist when recounting the harsh request of a Ukrainian colleague
  • “If I could leave Russia now, I would”: how Russians live the sanctions imposed on their country
  • “This illegal invasion is the sole responsibility of Putin, but NATO created the conditions for it to happen”
  • China: how is it affected (and what advantages can it derive) from the conflict in Eastern Europe?
  • “What Putin wants to show is that the new Russia, and he will boast of it as his legacy, is standing.”

Source: Elcomercio

Share this article:
globalhappenings news.jpg
most popular