Those War Crimes

War crimes are crimes against humanity…..participants involved in any conflict that are accused of acting with barbarity toward their enemies.

War crimes, under international law, happen when civilians, prisoners of war, hospitals or schools – essentially anyone and anything that isn’t involved in military activities – are targeted during a conflict.

This brings us to Ukraine…..The West has been accusing Russia of committing war crimes…..Ukraine is accusing Russia of war crimes…..Russia is accusing Ukraine of war crimes…..and the rhetoric goes on.

There was a big push for there to be an investigation into all the allegations…..but just how hard is it to prove war crimes?

The United Nations reports that at least 5,237 Ukrainian civilians have been killed in the Ukraine war – but other estimates place this figure at more than 10,000.

Ukraine, meanwhile, has started more than 16,000 investigations into suspected war crimes committed by Russians.

For me and my colleagues – who since 1998 have worked in securing forensic evidence of these types of crimes in Afghanistan, Guatemala and other places – it is apparent that identifying and collecting evidence of international crimes like killing civilians during conflict is beyond the capabilities and resources of local police crime scene teams, criminal investigators and prosecutors.

It’s also likely that the full extent of war crimes committed by both Ukraine and Russia won’t be investigated and possibly prosecuted until after the war finally ends.

This means that in the case of the Ukraine war, a new, unbiased judiciary and investigatory organization will likely need to be set up to handle the claims and questions about tens of thousands of victims on all sides. This will take decades of work and cost a large amount of money, requiring the support of rich countries.

Before any indictments are handed down this war will be just a vague memory in most Americans minds……and the cost is another item all together.

I know everybody wants justice….but will justice be forthcoming?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


2 thoughts on “Those War Crimes

  1. ‘War crimes’ is an easy charge. I am old enough to remember when some Americans were charged with war crimes against the Vietnamese, and British soldiers were charged with war crimes in Northern Ireland. It is impossible to fight any war without civilians dying and bearing the brunt of it. That has been the case since 1939, and before that, It can be traced back to The Thirty Years War, in 1618. And beyond that, to the Roman Empire.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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