How to punish the Ukrainian military for torturing Russian prisoners

Lawyers named three options

The horrific footage of the harassment of Russian prisoners on the Internet has done more to explain who Russia is at war with than all the speeches of officials combined. It is far from a fact that any of these Ukrainian sadists will now be taken prisoner and not destroyed on the spot. Nevertheless, the head of the SC of the Russian Federation Bastrykin instructed to identify all those involved in the crime “in order to bring them to justice.” With the help of lawyers, we understood what kind of responsibility it is.

It is already known that prisoners at the base of the National Battalion near Kharkiv were subjected to inhuman torture (soldiers were beaten to death and shot in the legs with a machine gun, not even to test any data, but simply). Investigative bodies (judging by the reports of our Ministry of Defense and their structures are also involved in this) are studying the records and identifying the participants in the massacre. Such treatment of prisoners, lawyers say, is a direct violation of international humanitarian law (IHL). However, there is no “international criminal code” and IHL does not provide sanctions for crimes.

Lawyer Oksana Mikhalkina explains that criminal liability for those who mocked Russian prisoners, if they are identified and detained, will come under the Russian Criminal Code. Obviously, these are Articles 111-112 (intentional harm to health). It provides for liability for causing harm “to a person or his relatives in connection with the performance of official activities by a person or the performance of public duty”, as well as in respect of “two or more persons”. There is also the qualification of “a group of persons by prior agreement.” Sanction – up to 12 years in prison.

If the victim dies – up to 15 years. However, the application of the article “murder” (with a sanction up to life imprisonment) is not excluded. Other articles of the Criminal Code may be added to detainees.

International condemnation is hardly possible in this case. Russia has not been a member of the International Criminal Court since 2016. Although, as lawyer Dmitry Agranovsky explained, an international tribunal for Ukraine could theoretically be established. This, however, will require a decision by all members of the UN Security Council. This is a rather illusory hope, but “Russia agreed to a tribunal for Yugoslavia because it did not expect it to turn into a disgrace and trial for the Serbs.” Interestingly, there are no clear sanctions for crimes in such a tribunal. Roughness decisions are made, roughly speaking, from the ceiling “judging by the decisions against Mladic and Karadzic.” Serbian General Ratko Mladic received a life sentence, as did Serbian President Radovan Karadzic.

There is another almost fantastic option. Adviser to the office of President Zelensky Arestovich condemned the torture of Russian prisoners. The Criminal Code of Ukraine also has suitable articles. For example, Article 121, “Intentional grievous bodily harm”, which provides for imprisonment for a term of seven to ten years.

By the way, from recent examples of condemning one’s own military for torturing prisoners, one can recall the American experience. From 2004 to August 2007, the U.S. military tribunal heard more than 11 cases of U.S. security guards who tortured prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. Eight of them received prison terms.

Published in the newspaper “Moscow Komsomolets” №28752 of March 29, 2022

Newspaper headline:
12 years for shot legs

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