War crimes and the neccecity of punishment

As testimonies and indications of war crimes being committed on Ukrainian soil by Russian invaders increase, terms such as "mass graves", "genocide" and "recognition of corpses" begin to emerge from the horrible closet of history. They are words that are associated with the Nazi horror of World War II and became relevant again on the European continent during the Yugoslav wars. Twenty-five years after the Srebrenica massacre, the European continent is once again experiencing moments of shame.

On July 11, 1995, 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys lost their lives in the ten days after the occupation of Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces in the final months of the Bosnian civil war.So many are wondering: Is Boutsa the new Serbenica?The horror was revealed when the Russian troops withdrew from the outskirts of Kiev.Corpses on the street, dilapidated houses, besieged buildings. This was the image that the Ukrainian army and foreign journalists saw when they first entered the city. Hundreds of people lay dead in the streets. They were executed with a bullet to the head. Among them were young children trying to escape the horrors of war with their families. Up to 340 bodies have been collected since the Boutsa massacre. The Ukrainian prosecutor's office announced that forensic examinations will be carried out on the bodies.

No one today can predict how the war in Ukraine will develop and whether there will be massive violations of humanitarian law and the systematic commission of war crimes. The samples so far are extremely worrying and may become even worse when journalists have access to all areas of the military operations.There are now new and improved techniques for clarifying crimes, from satellite imagery to DNA testing. This makes it difficult to conceal crimes and misinform the public. There is also a permanent international tribunal, the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, which opened in 2003. One hundred and twenty countries have recognized its jurisdiction, and although the Russian Federation withdrew in 2016, its own citizens can be extradited if arrested in any country that has acceded. Unfortunately, apart from Russia and the United States, China and India have not officially recognized it.The failure of the international community to prevent the current Ukrainian drama is a huge defeat and a setback to the progress made in the system of international relations after World War II. But it would be utterly disastrous if, at some point, the international community decided to "roll its eyes" for reasons of supposed realism.

Punishment of war crimes is not done for revenge or even to prevent the recurrence of crimes. Punishment is a necessary condition for the reconciliation that sooner or later must be achieved between the criminal-invader and his victims.


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