Putin’s barbaric logic

For Vladimir Putin, war is a political instrument. And the end justifies the means.

Posted yesterday at 5:00 a.m.

These two assumptions explain the dirty war that is taking place in Ukraine. A tragedy that sometimes takes on the appearance of a butcher’s shop, where civilians are victims of a tyrant’s will to power.

This is how we must understand the images of the corpses in the streets of Boutcha (a city which has just been taken over by the Ukrainian army) which arouse indignation these days. Just like the various testimonies about Russian abuses, in particular that of the organization Human Rights Watch, which evokes “war crimes”.

In response to these horrific developments, an NDP motion passed unanimously Monday in the House of Commons condemning “crimes against humanity and war crimes perpetrated by Vladimir Putin, the Russian military and groups supported by Russia.

Noble initiative. But it is also important to take action.

In early March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced the opening of an investigation into alleged war crimes committed in Ukraine.

For Canada and its allies, the time has come to step up support for this investigation.

The ICC will need both financial and human resources to carry out its work. In either case, Ottawa’s contribution will be invaluable.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly was in Helsinki on Monday. She said Canada would “continue to work with the International Criminal Court.” In Ottawa, consideration is currently being given to providing financial assistance to the tribunal.

Hurry up. The process of gathering evidence is an important part of investigative work. A task that must be carried out as quickly as possible.

It is not being alleged here that Canada has stood idly by. On the contrary. The country was one of the first to refer the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court.

And we recently learned that the RCMP will send reinforcements there shortly. The number of Canadian police officers assigned to ICC investigations will increase from three to ten “once preparations are concluded”, we were told.

It is crucial to redouble our efforts, even if the outcome of possible prosecutions remains uncertain.

First, the history of the ICC has shown us that justice can be done, even when it initially seems like an impossible gamble. We think that even the former Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, once untouchable, could be handed over to the court in the near future.

Secondly, its work is not in vain, if only because the investigations will make it possible to shed light on what really happened and to determine the responsibility of the various actors on the ground for the crimes committed.

It is also important to fight against ambient misinformation, fueled in particular by Moscow, which seeks, for example, to make people believe in a staging in Boutcha and not in a real massacre.

However, not only many abuses are already documented, but the multiplication of allegations of war crimes on the part of Vladimir Putin’s regime should not come as a surprise.

His brutal methods are well known. Since a long time.

Already, in 1999, during the war in Chechnya, Vladimir Putin had promised that in the face of “terrorists”, he would show no mercy. “We will shoot them wherever we find them. Even if we find them in the toilet. We’ll kill them in the latrines. »

There is not enough space here to list all the horror stories attributable to his regime, but it should be noted at the very least that Russia has also been accused of numerous war crimes in Syria, another conflict where cruelty was the norm rather than the exception.

However, the longer the war in Ukraine goes on, the more this logic – all shots are allowed, to hell with the rules of war! – seems to prevail.

A barbaric logic against which impunity is not an option.

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