On November 14, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its preliminary findings that “there exists a sensible or reasonable justification for a belief that a crime [my italics] falling within the jurisdiction of the Court ‘has been or is being committed’” within the Crimean and Donbas territories of Ukraine. On release of the ICC report, Russia announced that it would withdraw from the organization because it “failed to meet the expectations to become a truly independent, authoritative international tribunal.” The ICC report intensifies Russia’s isolation following the Joint Investigative Team’s (JIT) blaming Russia for shooting down MH17.
Russia thus finds itself in the questionable company of Burundi, Gabon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbia, and Niger as suspects in creating international armed conflicts. The ICC report demolishes Putin’s narrative of the Ukrainian conflict, which paints Russia as an innocent bystander. Following the ICC report and Russia’s angry withdrawal from the international tribunal, there should be no further reference to “civil war,” “separatists,” or “insurgents.” Instead the conflict that has claimed 9,578 lives is an “international armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.” Another consequence is that Russia, as a party to the conflict, should no longer have a “peacemaker” seat in negotiations in Minsk.
The ICC report is particularly embarrassing for the Kremlin as it tries to peddle its parallel-reality version of the Ukraine conflict to the incoming Donald Trump administration.
ICC: Crimea is occupied by Russia, not a part of Russia
The ICC report summarizes events in Crimea as follows:
In the early hours of February 27, 2014, armed and uniformed individuals wearing no identifying insignia (“green men”) seized control of the Crimean parliament and admitted pro-Russian deputies, who appointed a new prime minister (a local gangster) and called for a referendum on the status of Crimea. (See You tube of Russian special forces’ takeover of parliament.) Two days after a referendum conducted under the supervision of Russian Kalashnikovs, Crimea was admitted into the Russian Federation. Residents of Crimea automatically became Russian citizens. Crimea’s annexation by Russia was declared invalid by the Ukrainian provisional government and by a majority of states of the UN General Assembly. After an initial denial, Putin later admitted that his military personnel had been involved in these actions (and that he had planned the annexation well before the above events).