War crimes: a tribunal for Putin?
Bombardments and assaults on hospitals, residential areas and civilians are all officially classified as war crimes. The International Criminal Court thus opened an investigation into Russia's attacks on Ukraine as early as 3 March. Last Wednesday, US President Joe Biden openly called Vladimir Putin a war criminal. Commentators examine what calling Putin a war criminal - and taking legal action against him - can achieve.
Only the Russians can demand justice
It will be difficult to bring Vladimir Putin to book, writes La Libre Belgique:
“Without batting an eyelid, the Moscow apparatchiks are denying everything. They would never submit to the authority of a supranational body like the International Criminal Court. The verdict of a judge, however, would give legal force to Joe Biden's insult. ... Will Vladimir Putin, now branded a 'war criminal' by the leader of the free world, suffer the same fate as Slobodan Milošević? We should not fool ourselves: if nothing changes in the power structure in Moscow and the Russians are not capable of demanding justice for the crimes of their leader themselves, no one will hunt down Vladimir Putin and force him to appear in court in The Hague.”
Worse than Saddam Hussein
There can be no doubt that Putin is a war criminal, says Jutarnji list:
“What Putin has done to Ukraine is the same as Saddam Hussein's attack and occupation of Kuwait, with the difference that the Russians are leaving behind more corpses and scorched earth than the Iraqi army at the time. Saddam's Iraq was under sanctions for years, and in the end he paid with his head. Given the scale of destruction Ukraine is being subjected to, there is no reason to treat Putin any differently than Saddam. ... Even if he escapes trial, he will forever carry the stigma of a war criminal and will only be able to keep company with those like him, such as Lukashenka or the dictators of Syria and North Korea.”