war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Russia has already greatly surpassed the Nazi Third Reich by insidiously launching missile and bomb attacks on Ukraine

08.03.2022    available: Українською
Viktor Kolisnyk, Doctor of Juridical Sciences (Habil. degree), professor, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine
Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Viktor Kolisnyk: ‘Russia was on a par with Nazi criminals and even surpassed them in cynicism, meanness and insidiousness.’

A burning building after bombing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 3. © Maxim Dondyuk

(for judges and legal thinkers)

Russia insidiously commenced missile and bomb attacks on Ukraine and thus unleashed and wages an aggressive war not only against our state, but also against the entire world civilization, European values and the European system of general security, surpassing the Nazi Third Reich.

For many years, Russia has been showing off the Victory Banner in World War II, which was established in 1945 over the Nazi Reichstag. At the same time, it was always silent that for almost two years (from 1939 to 1941) the USSR was actually in friendly relations with the Nazi regime. In particular, the Soviet Union provided the Nazi supporters not only with the oil products, nickel, molybdenum, wheat and many other raw materials, but also with more than two thousand high-power bombs. The latter were dropped by Luftwaffe bombers on the United Kingdom. It was with the use of Soviet bombs and Soviet oil products that the Nazi planes ruined British cities, and the city of Coventry was entirely destroyed. The Nazis, subsequently, struck the United Kingdom with the FAA ballistic missiles.

And now, in the 21st century, Russia launches a massive missile and bomb strikes on Ukraine, surpassing the Nazi Third Reich during the World War II in cruelty and blasphemy. Russian troops cunningly engulfed Ukraine’s territory from three sides under the guise of military exercises and launched an offensive on the front, which is about a third longer than the Wehrmacht’s invasion front on June 22, 1941. Meanwhile, Russian officials (including the Minister of Foreign Affairs), on the eve of the Russian invasion, rebutted the assumption that Russia intended to commit military aggression against Ukraine, thereby demonstrating the pinnacle of deceit, meanness, perfidy, blasphemy and cynicism.

For many times, Russian officials bragged about successful liberation of the prisoners of the Nazi death camps in 1945 by the Soviet army. However, they were silent (and actually continue to be silent) about the fact that it was precisely Soviet cooperation and friendship with the Nazi regime in 1939-1941. These factors had a significant impact on strengthening and enhancing the military capacity of the Third Reich to such a level that it occupied and subjugated almost all of Europe. An important emphasis is that it was during the operation of the Nazi-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Borders, with the help, assistance and support from the USSR, Nazi troops had occupied and subjugated almost all European states and part of North Africa. This actually allowed the meticulous and systematic creation and operation of Nazi death camps, which ultimately had fatal consequences in a form of Holocaust.

In light of the above, how do Russian judges and lawyers react to the Russian attack on Ukraine? They are silent.

Yet the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation previously trampled on international law, and it was on the basis of its conclusions that such changes were made to the Constitution of the Russian Federation that allowed Russia to disregard acts of international law (including the principle of a non-use of force or threat of force in interstate relations), and destroyed the separation of powers in Russia.

With its countless decisions and conclusions, the Constitutional Court of Russian Federation opened the door for the arbitrariness of the current head of the Russian state. This has further strengthened the usurpation of state power in modern Russia by establishing such a system for the embodiment of the state apparatus, when all decisive and fateful decisions in Russia are made by only one person without any democratic discussion. The most obvious example is the latest parody called “Session of the Security Council of the Russian Federation”. During this so-called session, sycophants and opportunists from the highest echelons of Russian power servilely and obsequiously spoke only what the Kremlin leader Putin wanted to hear from them.

It was this person who made a unilateral decision to fire Ukraine with cruise missiles, to launch missile and bomb strikes on the territory of Ukraine and commit a new armed invasion of Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine, which, despite the attempts of Russian officials to call it as “special operation”, in fact, by legal qualification is an international crime of waging a war of aggression against Ukraine which is one of the founding State of the United Nations.

It should be recalled that it was precisely the planning, preparation, initiation and waging of an aggressive war that was one of the crimes for which the main Nazi criminals were convicted by the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg.

This is indeed a new armed invasion of Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine, because the Russian-Ukrainian war has lasted for eight years, and it began with the seizure of the Ukrainian Crimea in 2014, which Putin called a “special operation” a year later (the film “Crimea. The Way Home”). The seizure of Crimea completely coincides with the Nazi seizure of Austria in 1938, which also happened with an imitation of a “people’s” referendum, accompanied by mass propaganda hysteria and numerous military units on the streets of cities and villages.

The war in the Ukrainian Donbas was also organized by Russian military and Russian special services with the introduction of the Russian regular army, Russian guns and Russian propaganda machine, and Russian mercenaries were incited and sent to war in Ukraine by Russian state institutions – military commissariats throughout Russia. All eight years of the Russian-Ukrainian war in the East of Ukraine, it was the Russian state that financed the terrorist groups of the DPR and LPR, provided them with weapons, military equipment, military ammunition, military uniforms and money supply. That is why, without a doubt, Russia finances and in every possible way supports the terrorist groups of the DPR and LPR, that is, it is a sponsor of terrorism in its most disgusting form.

The outright cynicism, insidiousness and blasphemy of the Russian political leadership lies primarily in the fact that Russia is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The armed aggressive war of Russia against Ukraine with the use of rocket and bomb strikes and multiple launch rocket systems with the use of cluster bombs, which are the weapons of mass impression (including in residential areas, hospitals, maternity hospitals and orphanages) unequivocally and unconditionally proves that Russian military committed crimes against humanity, and Russia violated the UN Charter and, first of all, its Article 1, according to which the purpose of the UN is “to maintain international peace and security”, “to remove the threats to the peace” and “to suppress acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace”.

The outright cynicism and insidiousness of the Russian political leadership lies in the fact that Russia unleashed an aggressive and brutal war against Ukraine precisely at the time when the Russian delegation was chairing the sessions of the United Nations Security Council, that is, having planned in advance the opportunity to slow down any negative reaction from this institution and the world community to the aggressive war launched by Russia against Ukraine, obviously relying not just on a blitzkrieg, but for a “super blitzkrieg”.

The outright cynicism and insidiousness of the Russian political leadership also lies in the fact that it justifies the use of cruise missiles, missile and bomb strikes, front-line aviation, multiple launch rocket systems, offensive military operations of the Russian land forces and naval forces on the territory of the sovereign Ukrainian state with complete nonsense, phantasmagoric assumptions about the allegedly coup d’etat, some mythical “Kyiv junta” and “Nazis”, which for some reason no one has ever seen (like the same black cat, which is difficult to find in a dark room, especially then when it is not there).

The outright cynicism and insidiousness of the Russian political leadership is that it justifies an aggressive war by aiming to “teach” the Ukrainian people to “correctly” choose the “proper government” just when the election results in Russia itself have been known for three decades (that is, elections in Russia are virtually long gone) and long before the election date, and the current Kremlin leader continues to sit at the top of Russia's ruling Olympus longer than Brezhniev (almost 22 years), although one of the main features of democracy is periodic variability of public authorities in accordance with democratic procedures.

The outright cynicism and insidiousness of the Russian political leadership is that it is falsely trying to convince the whole world that it is not fighting against civilians in Ukraine, but only striking at Ukrainian military units, military infrastructure and ammunition depots. Such an excuse has nothing to do with common sense and elementary logic and is based on delusions and boasting of a cynical madman, because the Ukrainian military men are also people who have the right to life, private and family life and came to this world to do good, and not to die in battle because of the delusions of a person who has lost touch with reality. Human life, including militaryman life, is in Ukraine (unlike Russia) the highest social value, which cannot be neglected by one’s own state, much less by another's. We, the Ukrainians, value the lives of all citizens, regardless of whether they are civilians or militarymen, men or women, children or the elderly. Moreover, the Kremlin leader's crooked head is unable to grasp this simple wisdom due to lack of intelligent capability or from missing a few marbles, that may never be found to complete the full set (as Stetsko said in “The Courtship at Honcharivka”).

The outright cynicism and insidiousness of the Russian political leadership is that, by throwing Russian troops into the breakthrough into the Ukrainian capital by the shortest route from the north-west, in fact, mocked the memory of the victims of Babyn Yar, as they attacked exactly where the Nazis massacred Jews, Ukrainians, Russians, Roma, and many other nationalities, including infants, in 1941. In other words, in the 21st century, the Russian occupiers are following the same paths to Kyiv and throughout Ukraine as the Nazi hordes in 1941. I would like to remind you that these paths are a direct path that led the Nazis to the Nuremberg Tribunal for crimes committed during World War II, and the Russian political and military leadership will be led (I pray) to the Hague Tribunal.

The outright cynicism and insidiousness of the Russian political leadership is that the Russian military men have captured Chornobyl and the world is on the brink of a new Chornobyl disaster because Chornobyl personnel are hostages, because Chornobyl specialists are tired, exhausted and nervous, unable to have proper rest and nutrition. It would be the same if an air traffic controller, who had not slept for three days, landed a liner with several hundred passengers at the airport. The Russian military equipment, passing through the exclusion zone around the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, brought radioactive dust on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital. Russian missiles and shells have already caused an environmental catastrophe, as they destroyed radioactive waste storage facilities, burned oil depots, and in the Sumy region (oblast), where there are many chemical plants, shelling leads to the leakage of toxic chemicals, ie a large-scale environmental disaster.

The outright cynicism and insidiousness of the Russian political leadership is that it demanded through its officials to “demilitarise” Ukraine by exporting military weapons from Ukraine, and then insidiously and treacherously (because they repeatedly promised to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity in signed agreements) attacked Ukraine. It looked like this: let the future victim lay down all means of protection, raise his hands, and they – the Russian supposedly “super-professional” militarymen – will march solemnly and do with the victim whatever they want.

Given this course of events, treachery, meanness, cynicism, insidiousness, blasphemy of both the Russian political leadership and the Russian Constitutional Court, I hope that jurists and judges of the constitutional courts of European states, and, above all, the most authoritative among them – the German Federal Constitutional Court, have the courage, boldness and determination to openly call Russia's war against Ukraine on the Ukrainian territory to be an aggressive war, to openly call the aggressor – Russia, to openly call violations of humanitarian law and crimes of the Russian army crimes.

At the same time, I must remind German politicians, who have many times publicly admitted their guilt before Russia for the casualties and damage caused by World War II, that Nazi troops in 1941-1942 actually occupied 9% of the Soviet territory in total (14% of Russian territory). However, Ukraine was completely occupied by the Nazis (i.e., 100% of Ukrainian territory was under occupation) and Ukrainians suffered under the occupation regime for much longer (three long and terrible years full of pain, blood, sweat and tears).

Russia has brought massive bombings, artillery and rocket fire, volley fire systems and tank columns to Ukraine, resulting in daily casualties, pain, blood, sweat and tears. Russia was on a par with Nazi criminals and even surpassed them in cynicism, meanness and insidiousness.

It is significant that Russian troops use missile strikes and volley fire systems, including the Tornado volley fire system with cluster bombs that explode into a large number of smaller bombs, some of which explode immediately and some turn into time-lapse mines, which may be in the hands of a child or which can be stepped on by anyone.

Judges of the constitutional courts of European states and jurists of European states must have the courage to call such actions of Russian military and Russian politicians atrocities and barbarism, as well as publicly provide their own legal qualification of such actions, because these systems are weapons of mass destruction. This will be another signal to the European public and to the entire civilized world about the brutal nature of Russia's authoritarian regime.

On the first day of spring, March 1, 2022, Russian troops again launched a missile strike on Kharkiv, in particular on Freedom Square, which is quite revealing and symbolic, because Russian aggressors are killing freedom in its broadest sense, or rather try to kill freedom, the freedom not only of the Ukrainian people, but of the entire European community and the entire civilized world.

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