Russian President Vladimir Putin may end up in jail for having ordered his troops to invade Ukraine, British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said Tuesday, after the International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched a query into the ongoing events.
Raab warned there was a “very real risk” Putin and his loyalists “spending their lives behind bars.”
Today I wish to announce that I have decided to proceed with opening an investigation into the situation in Ukraine, as rapidly as possible, International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan said Monday in a statement.
I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine since 2014, he added.
Given the expansion of the conflict in recent days, it is my intention that this investigation will also encompass any new alleged crime falling within the jurisdiction of my office, that is committed by any party to the conflict on any part of the territory of Ukraine, Khan's statement went on.
The prosecutor also explained it was not up to his Office to take any action regarding the crime of aggression since neither Russia nor Ukraine were signatories to ICC's founding Rome Statute.
I will continue to closely follow developments on the ground in Ukraine, and again call for restraint and strict adherence to the applicable rules of international humanitarian law, Khan also said.
Russian troops were said to be on the brink of capturing Kyiv Tuesday at dusk, after a military convoy stretching for 40 miles had been seen advancing on the city. Ukraine sources also said that, as of Monday, 352 people — including 16 children — had been killed.
Britain’s ambassador to the UN, Dame Barbara Woodward, accused the Kremlin of launching “indiscriminate attacks against men, women and children.” She also warned that Ukraine was now on the verge brink of a “humanitarian catastrophe.”
Raab, a former lawyer who prosecuted war criminals, accused Putin of “barbarism” against Ukraine and warned that those that engage in war crimes will be held to account.”
“We’re also supporting efforts to make sure that evidence of war crimes is preserved,” he also said in a TV interview.
He recalled former Bosnian Serb politician Radovan Karadzic was in a UK prison for war crimes following a hearing at the Hague. “That shows you our willingness to wait for however long it takes to make sure there is accountability for any violations of the law of war,” he said.
“The International Criminal Court, the prosecutor... has said that he is looking at the situation very carefully, and if and when the ICC decides to take action the UK, and I’m sure many of our allies, would want to support them practically, logistically in any way possible.”
But “it’s not going to end quickly, Raab admitted.