Is Putin a War Criminal?


World Economic Forum

President Putin first came to power when he was elected in 2012. Many people believe he rigged this election and every Russian presidential election since then.

Andrew Powers, Current Events Editor, Entertainment Editor

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine is refocused away from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv to Eastern Ukraine, an important question has been raised regarding the Russian military’s actions: Is Putin a war criminal?

  After World War II, the Geneva Conventions were created to declare a universal humane standard for how civilians, soldiers, and prisoners of war would be treated during times of war. Several countries signed it, including the Soviet Union, which has since broken apart into multiple different countries including Russia and Ukraine. Breaching the rules of the conventions allows a country to be tried in international court for war crimes.

  Currently, the U.S. and Ukraine are collecting evidence to accuse Russia of committing war crimes. Over the past few weeks, they have gathered cases that Russia has targeted civilian areas with missile strikes, as is seen with the missile strike on a theater in Mariupol that civilians were sheltering in or the train station in Kramatorsk that civilians were using to evacuate. 

  Ukraine has also gathered evidence that Russian soldiers have executed civilians in Bucha as they retreated from the capital city. Civilians living in small towns outside the borders of Kyiv have reported being raped, tortured, and having family members killed by Russian and Russian-allied soldiers.

  While Russian soldiers have been the ones to enact these atrocities, justices and attorneys in Ukraine are trying to go after Putin himself as well as the Russian military. This is because they believe there is a case for proving Putin is an autocrat with total control over the Russian government and military, despite Russia’s officially “democratic” status.

  However strong the case may be, Putin nor other Russian war criminals can be arrested so long as they remain in Russia. Since Putin doesn’t have a reason to leave Russia anytime soon, he will most likely remain there as the case against him continues to get stronger and stronger.