Atlantic Council: Punish Putin for past and present crimes 

2022-03-16 | International tribunal

By Gissou Nia, and Jomana Qaddour. For decades, the idea of holding the Russian state accountable for atrocity crimes in a court of law was unthinkable.

The country’s status as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, as well as its refusal to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), have allowed those Russians responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity—against Chechens, Georgians, and Syrians—to escape prosecution. Moscow has also benefited from a lack of political will from other states worried about disturbing the global world order.

But that status quo of impunity has dramatically changed since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24. In just the first two weeks of his murderous campaign, the UN Human Rights Council and the ICC announced they would open an inquiry and an official investigation, respectively, into alleged atrocities committed as his armies pounded civilian infrastructure and residences in cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol.

But justice will remain incomplete if these inquiries don’t connect the dots with Putin’s crimes in Chechnya, Syria, and elsewhere.

 

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