Ukraine Files Petition For Putin To Be Charged With War Crimes Next Week
Ukraine President Volodmyr Zelensky has said that his government has filed petitions against Russia to the International Court of Justice in light of its invasion.
“Ukraine has submitted its application against Russia to the ICJ. Russia must be held accountable for manipulating the notion of genocide to justify aggression,” Mr Zelensky tweeted on Sunday. “We request an urgent decision ordering Russia to cease military activity now and expect trials to start next week.”
Amir Farhadi, a former law clerk of the court, addressed the implications for Mr Putin in a Twitter thread. Mr Farhadi explained that the International Court of Justice does not have blanket jurisdiction over any international legal disputes between Ukraine and Russia as both countries have not acknowledged its jurisdiction.
However, it has jurisdiction over disputes relating to specific treaties that contain clauses which give jurisdiction to the Court. Here, Mr Farhadi cited the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
The cited clause covered human rights breaches against minority populations following the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Mr Farhadi wrote that Mr Zelensky may present Ukraine’s case under the Genocide Convention, which contains a clause for the court’s jurisdiction.
“The theory would seem to be that Russia cannot use false allegations of genocide to justify an aggressive invasion,” Mr Farhadi said.
Mr Farhadi’s theory is that Ukraine could say Russia used genocide as a pretext to invade, and ask the Court to find that there was no genocide to speak of; and Russia’s invasion was illegal.
On Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said Mr Putin could face war crimes charges over the invasion of Ukraine. Mr Johnson had told legislators that “anyone who sends a Russian into battle to kill innocent Ukrainians” could be brought to court.
He also said the United Kingdom is working with allies to set up a “particular international war crimes tribunal for those involved in war crimes in the Ukraine theatre”.