Putin follows Milosevic to The Hague?

Brussels 01.01.2022 Russian President Vladimir Putin should go on trial in Ukraine this year for war crimes committed there, says an expert who led the prosecution of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Sir Geoffrey Nice said to the BBC Mr Putin was a “guilty man” for attacks on civilian targets during the Ukraine war.

The British barrister expressed his astonishment that prosecutors and politicians were not “spelling this out much more freely and openly”. Russia denies committing war crimes, however, speaking to Radio 4’s Broadcasting House programme, Sir Geoffrey depicted Moscow’s actions during the invasion as “crimes against humanity”, explaining that the civilian targets were being attacked.

Crimes against humanity are considered to be among the most serious offences under the so-called “rules” of war, enshrined in Geneva Conventions.

These laws ban attacks on civilians – or infrastructure vital to their survival – and are set out in international treaties such as the Geneva and the Hague Conventions. The Geneva Convention of 1864 and subsequent Geneva Conventions, notably the four 1949 Geneva Conventions and the two 1977 Additional Protocols, focus on the protection of persons not or no longer taking part in hostilities.

Russia’s repeat attacks on the Ukrainian energy grid over the winter have been described as war crimes because of the harm done to civilians, but Russia insists it is hitting military targets only.

Moscow’s troops have been accused by the international community of thousands of abuses since their full-scale invasion of the neighbouring country last February.

The prosecutor-general in Kyiv says more than 62,000 war crimes have so far been recorded, including the deaths of more than 450 children. The BBC has not been able to verify these figures.

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