Russia’s top military and political leadership can be brought to international criminal individual responsibility through the ICC mechanism – Nataliia Hendel
Russia’s top military and political leadership can be brought to international criminal individual responsibility through the International Criminal Court mechanism. Since the actions, in particular, to blow up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, are seen as a planned policy of violation of international humanitarian law by the Russian military.
It was emphasized by Nataliia Hendel, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, a representative of the Ukraine 5AM Coalition
Nataliia Hendel noted that political support for Ukraine is also needed. It should be carried out both at the international level, within international organizations, and at the national level – through statements by the respective states that will encourage, first, to stop the aggression of the Russian Federation, and second, to bring Russia to international responsibility, both political and material one.
“And, accordingly, to use individual international criminal responsibility to bring to justice those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of genocide committed in Ukraine in connection with the aggression of the Russian Federation. And today’s situation is a confirmation of the systemic policy against Ukraine and its people by the Russian Federation. First of all, we are talking about the Russian government and its military leadership,” she added.
At the same time, Mykola Orlov, senior legal advisor at Truth Hounds, representative of the Ukraine 5AM Coalition, emphasized that supporting Ukraine is one of the most efficient and effective steps.
“At the moment, we believe that the most effective way is to provide unrelenting, unwavering support to Ukraine so that we can liberate all our territories. This will be the most efficient and effective step that will allow us to initiate legal proceedings in the future or revive the ongoing processes to bring to justice those responsible for this crime,” he said.
As a reminder, on June 6, 2023, at about 2:30 AM, the Russian military blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, which the occupiers seized in the first days of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
It should be noted that the capacity of Kakhovka HPP was 334.8 MW. It ensured annual regulation of the Dnipro river flow for electricity supply, irrigation, and water supply to the arid regions of southern Ukraine and navigation from Kherson to Zaporizhia. Strategic road and railroad bridge crossings passed through the hydroelectric facility. The construction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric facility raised the water level in the Dnipro River to 16 meters and created the Kakhovka reservoir with a volume of 18.19 km³.
According to Ukrhydroenergo, the explosion resulted in the hydroelectric power station turbine hall being completely destroyed and the plant beyond repair.
According to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal, the explosion of the Nova Kakhovka dam poses a threat of flooding up to 80 settlements.
Evacuations have been announced for the multiple towns and cities downstream in Kherson Oblast that are at risk of flooding.
In addition to causing significant environmental and economic consequences to Ukraine, the explosion of the Kakhovka HPP increases the threat of a nuclear disaster, as the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant cooling ponds depend on the water level in the Dnipro. However, Energoatom reports that the situation is under control.
It is important to note that demolishing the dam in Nova Kakhovka is a war crime under the Geneva Convention. The destruction of a hydroelectric power plant is considered a weapon of mass destruction and a war crime of indiscriminate effect, according to Article 56 of Additional Protocol I of 1977.
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