The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into the war in Ukraine as pressure mounts to prosecute Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal.
The case against Putin could come together quickly as the list of alleged violations grows: the bombing of a maternity hospital, the shelling of civilian targets and an attack on a nuclear power plant that raised the specter of a nuclear disaster in the heart of Europe. But a conviction may prove difficult to obtain. Over two decades, the International Criminal Court (which the U.S. does not belong to) has had a record of 10 convictions.
” The first way they could build it — which may be sufficient for this case — was to look at the pattern. This is what Stephen Rapp told CBS News’ senior investigative reporter Catherine Herridge.
Rapp is an ex-ambassador at large for war crimes and has developed cases against dictators. He said that Putin will be considered “an international paralyst” if he’s convicted of genocide.
” This means that Putin cannot travel to any summits or anywhere else, as he would be in serious danger.
Securing justice in the court does not happen quickly.
After Muammar Al-Gaddafi was executed, the court had to withdraw his arrest warrant. Nearly a decade has passed since Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, allegedly used chemical arms against Syrians.
A spokesperson for the National Security Council told CBS News that evidence from the U.S. of war crimes and other human rights violations is being gathered by the U.S. in preparation to be used as part of criminal proceedings.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv called the attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant a “war crime.” The White House changed its mind hours later.
” We haven’t made any conclusions. It’s a legal process and goes through at administration,” Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary said.
Rapp stated that the standard for proving war crimes is very high, however, “considering the severity of the campaign and civilian destruction, it’s possible to develop that in just a few weeks.”
Matthew Kroenig worked on the Russia and nuclear portfolios of the intelligence community during the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. He said that Russia’s growing stockpiles of low-yield, tactical nukes pose a threat to the country.
” These weapons would not be used for attacking Washington, New York or other cities, but to win a war in Ukraine, Kroenig stated.
Use tactical nuclear weapons against civilians is a “war crime of the greatest order,” he stated.
This week intelligence officers warned about a Russian strategy called “escalate-deescalate,” in which tactical nuclear weapons are used on the battlefield to intimidate adversaries.
” Kroenig stated that Putin would use nuclear weapons before the war was over. I believe the likelihood of nuclear war remains low. However, I believe the risk of nuclear war is greater now than at any other time in recent history.