ICC Accuses Russia Of War Crimes In Mariupol

(RightWing.org) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. The Netherlands-based court says Russia’s 2022 siege of Mariupol, which killed around 22,000 people, involved deliberate starvation of the city’s inhabitants. Prosecutors are now investigating if this is part of Russia’s alleged strategy in the war.

On February 24, 2022, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, the city of Mariupol was one of its first targets. Working with local pro-Russian militias, President Vladimir Putin’s troops quickly surrounded the city. They imposed a siege that lasted almost three months, until the final Ukrainian defenders surrendered on May 16. However, although the siege was a victory for Russia, alleged war crimes caused international outrage.

As well as high-profile atrocities like the deliberate destruction of a children’s hospital, the ICC says Russia also had a deliberate policy of blocking food deliveries to the city’s civilian population. Global Rights Compliance (GRC), a law firm that specializes in human rights issues, has handed the court a file detailing how Russia cut off food supplies to the city, as well as shutting down utilities as temperatures fell below 14° F.

Lawyer Catriona Murdoch says the firm has identified four separate phases in the siege, and the first one involved cutting off vital services to the population. Her colleague, Yousuf Syed Khan, accused Russia of weaponizing food and said this was a deliberate attack on civilians. If Murdoch and Khan can find evidence that it was a deliberate policy, that could open the way for the ICC to launch a prosecution of Russian leaders –- possibly including President Vladimir Putin himself.

The court has already issued an arrest warrant against Putin over Russia’s illegal deportation of Russian children, but deliberate starvation of civilians could open up more serious charges like genocide. Even if Putin didn’t personally order the starvation of Ukrainians, he could still be accused of failing to control his military.

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