Twenty one Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin made history as he became the first person to be jailed for war crimes during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He is unlikely to be last as Ukraine have identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes that have occurred during the invasion. Russia has routinely denied that their troops are committing war crimes in Ukraine but as the evidence against them begins to mount such as the CCTV footage of suspected Russian soldiers killing 2 civilians, it is unknown as to how long this stance will be taken.
Shashimarin was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of Ukranian Oleksandr Shelipov. A 62 year old man who was gunned down allegedly on the orders of Shishimarin’s commanding officer. Shishimarin claimed he only did this because he feared for his safety. Shelipov’s widow asked Shashimarin what her husband had done to him and made reference to Putin's continuous claims that the Russian army was only in Ukraine to liberate them.
There are currently 41 Russian Soldiers facing war crime cases. It is often an odd thing to consider that even war has rules. The accused face a range of offences including murdering civilians, rape, bombing of infrastructure and looting. The UN estimates that 3,380 people have been killed with 3,680 injured as a result of Putin's war of aggression in Ukraine. It is estimated that at least 4 million people have fled Ukraine, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.
Dealing with war crimes is nothing new in times of conflict. The rules of war are enforced by the International Criminal Court and the International Court of human Justice. The international Criminal Court is able to investigate and potentially prosecute individual war criminals. The ICC does believe that there is sufficient evidence to suggest war crimes are being committed in Ukraine. The ICC does not have its own police force. Meaning that it relies on the good faith of states to arrest suspects and send them to the Hague for trial. Russia is not a member of the ICC so is unlikely to cooperate with any extradition requests. Meaning that the victims' families will never get true justice for their pain. There is then the ICJ who can rule on disputes between states however any ruling against a state would be dealt with by the UN security Council and as Russia is a permanent member of the Council it would veto any action against it.
As the bodies and victims pile high in this brutal invasion of a sovereign nation. The Ukrainians continue to show resolve and courage in the face of Russian aggression. And we at Madex support them in their fight to defend their homeland.