15 March 2022
If you take a look at the International Criminal Court website, you will see their announcement of the assigning of “the Situation in Ukraine” which is the beginning of the prosecutorial process aimed ultimately as prosecuting
Vladimir Putin for war crimes.
So while it’s too early to say that Putin will ultimately be put on trial as an alleged war criminal, we can at least be encouraged because right now there’s a very evident cascade of opposition to Vladimir Putin the man. The Western World seems to be united in isolating Putin.
It is also encouraging to see the increasing number of reports by reliable sources revealing just how small and backward Russia has become. (And it’s mostly inflicted by Russia’s long history of handing power to the wrong people.). As of this date, the number of Russian tanks and war planes taken down by Ukrainian defenders is jaw-dropping. The Ukraine is only about a third of the population of Russia and the Ukrainian forces are similarly outnumbered. But Putin has put a substantial part of his available Russian ground troops solely on the border the with Ukraine. Those forces are being widely described as severely under supplied.
If it happens at all, Putin won’t be the only Russian facing prosecution, either. There will surely be commanding officers included. That’s what happened to Hitler’s military commanders at the Nuremberg Trials: some were executed and some were given long prison terms. So if any of these generals are captured, they will be sent to locations from which they can’t escape custody. Those who aren’t captured will still face prosecution no matter where they happen to flee — even decades from now.
The Russian commanders now conducting the invasion will surely be the most wanted. These commanders are likely to know this now that they’re seeing their own troops failing to follow international law and being beaten on so many of fronts in this war. How long will it be before their friends in the command structure begin planning a coup against Putin?
For that matter, what about the artillery crews now firing their shells at civilians? How long before some start thinking about what they are doing and what it might lead to if the invasion fails (as it appears to be doing right now)?
Now more than ever, it’s time to remember that war criminals are only put on trial after total surrender. This was one of the motives for totally crushing Germany’s and Japan’s military powers. Total surrender means the end for war criminals but they cannot be given a choice. So a non-negotiable demand by the Ukraine and its allies for total surrender is something we should all expect and demand. This will give pause to our traditional “ peaceful reconcilers.” We cannot afford to forgive and forget monstrosities committed right before our eyes.
It’s very important in conclusion to say that crushing people is not usually justified, but taking away the people who support the war criminal is the right idea. Initially, the German and Japanese people believed in and supported the wars conducted by their leaders. They also paid the price of utter demolition. Later generations in both countries then prospered like never before. World War II carried some terrible lessons for succeeding generations.