Breaking news regarding armed conflict in Ukraine

Breaking news regarding armed conflict in Ukraine, by Scott Humor

On Monday November 28th, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation announced that they have initiated a criminal investigation of war crimes committed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

RT has published a summary of the SK statement and the interviews of the attorneys and legal experts involved in this investigation.

The Investigative Committee has established that from September to November 2016, the Ukrainian military and employees of the National guard carried out a “targeted shelling with heavy weapons of the civilian infrastructures” (part 1 of article 356 of the Russia criminal code). The victims of the attack were two men and more than 20 were injured. Ukrainian shells damaged and destroyed more than 100 homes and residential buildings.

SK (Investigative Committee) disclosed the names, ranks and titles of the suspects, indicating each military unit involved. The Agency also found that 25 Jun 2016, Kominternovo village was shelled by the 36th Detached  Coastal Defense Marine Brigade of Naval forces of Ukraine. “The result of this shelling was a damaged power lines and two small children died after being electrocuted by the fallen wires,” — stated in the message of the Investigative Committee.

The Agency opened a criminal case against the commanders of the military units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. “In addition, in absentia, the charges have been filed against the commander of the 54th Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,  a formation of the Ukrainian Ground Forces,  Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Gorbatyuk, who organized and directed the conduct of the precision artillery shelling of the Petrovsky district of Donetsk, in which a local resident received shrapnel wounds”, — noted by the SK.

In practice, the armed forces servicemen can easily define what constitutes a “knowingly criminal command,” said the expert of Association of military political scientists, head of the Department of political science and sociology of Plekhanov Russian University of Economics professor Andrey Koshkin: “The criminal command is the use of regular troops against the civilian population. I suspect that this fact lies at the basis of this wording.  It’s a war crime to destroy the civilian population on the orders of the superiors.”

The military and international law experts interviewed by the RT also highlighted the necessity to use the European and American experience in conducting tribunal against Yugoslavia.

“In the case of the Donbass, from the point of view of international law, it makes sense to organize the trial against the political regime itself,” says a  military lawyer Vladimir Trygnin: “Interpol is involved in tracing individuals, but here we are talking about the responsibility of government officials and the high ranking military officials.” In his opinion, it will be the prerogative of an International Tribunal, that would use the example of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or ICTY, where the accused were not only the government  officials and also the commanders of illegal armed groups.”

“Professor Andrei Koshkin explained that, by analogy with the ICTY, this new tribunal might take legal actions not only against the Ukrainian officials and armed forces officers, but also against the commanders of the militia armed formation of the Donetsk republics. However, as the expert noted, this new international legal entity will focus on the crimes against the civilian population. In this case, Russia will have all the aces in her hands.”


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