In Christopher Black, Donbass, Human rights reports on Ukraine, ICC, Russia, Ukraine

ICC permanent premises. Courtesy NEO.

By Christopher Black, New Eastern Outlook
09-03-2024

The new charges made by the International Criminal Court against two Russian military officers, Sergey Kobylash, commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ Long-Range Aviation, and Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander Viktor Sokolov, reinforces the role of the ICC as a tool of Western propaganda and aggression and makes a mockery of its claimed role as an international court.

Mr. Khan, the latest iteration of ICC prosecutor, is a British lawyer who apparently never learned about the role of justice when he attended law school. His March 5th statement claims that the ICC has jurisdiction over Ukraine and Russia and that the officers charged directed attacks on civilian infrastructure, all of which is false. His political bias is established with the following statement,

“In our application for these warrants, my Office again underlined that these acts were carried out in the context of the acts of aggression committed by Russian military forces against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, which began in 2014.”

That statement is a bald-faced lie. It was not Russia that committed aggression against Ukraine in 2014. It was the United States, Britain, Canada, Germany, France and the other NATO allies who committed aggression against Ukraine and its people by staging a coup d’état in 2014; overthrowing the elected government and installing it in its place a NATO puppet regime riddled with Nazis. That alone should shock the world. Yet in the West, nothing is said about it. Many do not even know it took place. The facts have been suppressed and distorted by the propaganda they concocted to cover their crime of aggression, so they have labelled the brave resistance to the NATO-Nazi coup by the citizens of Ukraine located in the eastern provinces, as “Russian” aggression. Only a charlatan, having regard of all the facts, could come to that conclusion. It is the war begun by the Kiev regime against the Ukrainian people that Russia was finally forced to step in order to stop it.

But Mr. Khan seems undismayed that he will be labelled a charlatan, since this is the second set of charges he has filed against Russians, the first set being against President Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russian Ombudswoman for Children’s Rights, some months ago.

The rapidity with which Mr. Khan has acted against Russia stands in stark contrast to the complete refusal by the ICC to lay charges against Israeli leaders and military officers for the genocide they are committing against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, despite the fact on November 17, 2023 Mr. Khan, on receipt of referrals from South Africa and other states that Israel was committing war crimes, and crimes against humanity in the Occupied territories, as far back as 2006, stated that his office was investigating the matter. Yet, despite the International Court of Justice ruling that there is plausible evidence that Israel is committing genocide, despite the referrals from other nation states since then, as well as many individual complaints by world citizens and groups demanding charges be laid, he has done absolutely nothing. In effect, by his refusal to charge Israel leaders and officials, he aids and abets their actions by granting them immunity from prosecution.

Yet, in the case of Russia, over which the ICC has no jurisdiction, he acts with the utmost speed, ever ready to please his masters in the West, who need something, anything to pull the wool over the eyes of their citizens in the face of the great defeat they are suffering in their war against Russia in Ukraine. He is always ready to oblige them.

The fundamental problem of the ICC is that it is not a world court. It only claims to be, while representing the interests of the nations that promoted it, even the USA, which refuses to subject its citizens to its jurisdiction. It is a “court” to be used for western interests, no other. It was not created by a world government. It was created by a treaty drafted by representatives of a group of nations referred to as the Assembly of States Parties. The process of drafting the treaty was long and complex; however, it is necessary to point out that it is recognised that no single nation could purport to create such a court claiming to have international jurisdiction, and what a single nation cannot do, no group of nations, however composed, has the authority to create such an entity either.

The claim of the ICC to universal jurisdiction is a consequence of its ability to assume jurisdiction even in matters concerning individuals who are citizens of nation states that are not parties to the treaty. We have seen this with the charges laid against Russians for crimes allegedly committed in Ukraine. Neither Russia nor Ukraine is a Party to the Treaty of Rome, and therefore the ICC has no jurisdiction over the citizens of either state. However, the Ukrainian government, established by the NATO coup-d’état of 2014, invoked the Acceptance of Jurisdiction clause in the ICC Statute to afford the ICC with jurisdiction over Russia. Article 12 of the Statute states,

“Article 12

Preconditions to the exercise of jurisdiction

3. If the acceptance of a State, which is not a Party to this Statute, is required under paragraph 2, that State may, by declaration lodged with the Registrar, accept the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court with respect to the crime in question. The accepting State shall cooperate with the Court without any delay or exception in accordance with Part 9.”

This has two effects. Firstly, the phrase “crime in question” means that, in the case of Ukraine, for example, the ICC accepted a letter from the regime installed by the coup-d’état, granting the ICC limited jurisdiction-only over the alleged crime that was referred to the ICC by Ukraine. The crimes of Ukraine in the conflict, committed for ten years against the peoples of the Donbass and against civilians in Russia, are conveniently ignored. The Kiev regime states the ICC has no jurisdiction to consider them, and the ICC accepts this farce.

The result of accepting a letter of limited jurisdiction, that is a letter purporting to grant jurisdiction to the ICC over Russian “crimes,” while refusing to grant the ICC jurisdiction over Ukrainian crimes, is the selective prosecution of citizens of one state while granting immunity from prosecution of the other state. This is a legal and moral absurdity. The very idea of justice, in the sense of equality before the law, is negated, but more, it affords the Ukrainian regime an immunity from prosecution which provides encouragement to commit further crimes of its own on its claimed territories and in Russia. Once again, as in the Israeli case, we see that the ICC is acting as an enabler of war crimes instead of bringing to justice those committing them.

On May 21, 2023, the Russians charged the prosecutor and judges of the ICC for crimes involved in the issuance of the ICC warrants against Russians. The Russian Investigative Committee stated that,

“The ICC prosecutor is charged under part 2 of article 299, part 1 of article 30, and part of article 360 of the Russian Criminal Court (criminal prosecution of a person known to be innocent, as well as preparation for an attack on a representative of a foreign state enjoying international protection in order to complicate international relations). The judge is charged under part 2 of article 301, part 1 of article 30, and part 2 of article 360 of the Russian Criminal Court (knowingly illegal detention and preparation for an attack on a representative of a foreign state enjoying international protection in order to complicate international relations).”

“Both have been put on a wanted list.”

We can expect further charges to be laid against Mr. Khan and the judges concerned.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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