Ukrainian President calls for international justice for Crimea
February 23, 2015
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This time last year, a political revolution in the Ukraine led to the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Today, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko uses this anniversary to reassure his people that Ukraine is dedicated to regaining control of Crimea and protecting “the rights and interests of … all the inhabitants of the peninsula, regardless of their ethnic, language and religious background.’
To achieve this goal, President Poroshenko brings forth accusations against Russia of repressing the rights of Crimeans throughout its annexation, and is calling for Vladimir Putin and all Russian officials responsible for the invasion and occupation of the peninsula to stand trial in both international and Ukrainian courts.
While both countries attempt to pullback heavy weapons from the front lines, Pro-Russian rebels within Ukraine continue to delay peace efforts through artillery strikes against Ukrainian forces. Russia denies supporting the rebel forces, however, the Western Powers and NATO have satellite images that show otherwise.
In order to deter even more serious crimes, the Coalition for the ICC’s Campaign for Global Justice has recently urged Ukraine to become a full member of the ICC through ratification of the Rome Statute. The Coalition’s letter to President Poroshenko reads, “Ukraine’s membership in the ICC would send a clear signal that war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide will not be tolerated.”
As this issue continues to develop it will be interesting to see how involved the ICC will become. If the international court is allowed jurisdiction through Ukraine’s ratification, what charges will be brought forth against Russia? The jurisdictional debate over the crime of aggression will be a focal point in this case, and if the satellite images are proven to be real, similar charges to Charles Taylor’s “aiding and abetting” the rebel forces in Sierra Leone could be on the table. It seems to me that joining the ICC is definitely in Ukraine’s best interest if Poroshenko truly wishes to see Russia held accountable for its actions. We will have to wait and see what the Ukrainian leadership decides to do.
Articles here and here.