UN Establishes War Crimes Tribunal To Probe Russian Actions In Ukraine

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Mar 30, 2022 - 08:40 PM

Starting two weeks ago Joe Biden began using the label "war crimes" to describe Putin's actions and that of this military, a charge the US president repeated this past weekend while visiting Ukrainian refugees and American troops in Poland. Of course, this has also been echoed among some European allies as well, particularly the United Kingdom, which has established its own legal probe.

On Wednesday the United Nations formally established a war crimes investigative tribunal, naming three human rights experts to initiate a probe into Russia's military actions in Ukraine, amid allegations of "indiscriminate" bombardment of civilians and other acts of aggression toward non-combatants. 

What's been dubbed an "independent" panel is to be led by  Erik Mose of Norway, and tasked with looking into human rights abuses "in the context of the aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation," according to a statement.

It's expected to issue a report of initial findings in September. Reuters profiles lead investigator Mose as "a former judge of the European Court of Human Rights and former president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda who also served as a judge on Norway's Supreme Court."

The southern port of Mariupol in particular has been devastated after falling to Russian forces, but enduring weeks of a siege without access to electricity and water, and in some instances food as well. It's expected to be high on the list of places where Russian military operations will be examined. 

It was on March 16 that President Biden first said, "I think he is a war criminal," which followed a speech at the White House. According to CNN at the time

    The shift from the administration's previous stance came after an emotional address to Congress from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who aired a video showing Ukrainians suffering amid Russia's onslaught. Zelensky asked American lawmakers and Biden for more help defending itself, including a no-fly zone and fighter jets.

    Biden has since upped the rhetoric even more, in the last days using words like "butcher" and "murderous dictator" and "thug" - to which Russia has responded by warning it's on the brink of severing all formal diplomatic relations. The Kremlin also appears reluctant to respond in kind, seeing in the personal attack on Putin the potential for unnecessary tit-for-tat leading to a dangerous confrontation.

    The Kremlin has meanwhile complained that the West has by and large completely overlooked crimes against pro-Russian civilians in the Donbas region going back to 2014. Russia has also alleged during the current military "special operation" that Ukrainian civilians deemed "Russia sympathizers" have in some instances been tortured and even killed, especially by groups like the neo-Nazi Azov battalion.