A former chief war crimes tribunals prosecutor for the United Nations has called for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Putin is a war criminal,” Carla Del Ponte told the Swiss newspaper Le Temps. “You must go up the chain of command until you reach those who took the decisions.”
The Del Ponte prosecuted war crimes in Yugoslavia and Rwanda and said that there were clear war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.
“I hoped never to see mass graves again,” she told the newspaper Blick. “These dead people have loved ones who don’t even know what’s become of them. That is unacceptable.”
Besides mass graves, attacks on civilians, bombing/shelling of civilian buildings, and the destruction of entire villages were also war crimes according to Del Ponte.
The former prosecutor said that investigations in Ukraine would be easier than those in Yugoslavia because Ukraine has asked for and welcomes the probe.
Even if prosecuted, the arrest of Putin is highly unlikely unless his own staff turns on him. Del Ponte says that the inquiry should go ahead anyway and pointed to the trial of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
“You mustn’t let go, continue to investigation. When the investigation into Slobodan Milosevic began, he was still president of Serbia,” she told Blick. “Who would have thought then that he would one day be judged? Nobody.”
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