Russia-Ukraine: Two years of war
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Pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrate outside the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the day of a public hearing to allow parties to give their views on the legal consequences of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories before eventually issuing a non-binding legal opinion, in The Hague, Netherlands, February 19, 2024.

REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

Israeli occupation on trial at ICJ

Palestinian Authority Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Monday delivered an opening statement before the International Court of Justice at the Hague in a case about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian Territories since 1967. The UN-backed court will hear from more than 50 countries and three multinational organizations – the largest case in the ICJ’s history – but a decision could take months, and it would be non-binding.

This is separate from South Africa’s case alleging Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

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Print photocopies of Benjamin Ferencz, while he served as a prosecutor during the Nuremberg trials, on a table at his home in Delray Beach, Florida on June 1, 2022.

USA Today Network via Reuters Connect

Nuremberg now: the legacy of Ben Ferencz

At 27 years old, with no trial experience to speak of, Ben Ferencz entered the courtroom at Nuremberg in November of 1945. He was tasked with holding to account a regime that had slaughtered millions and tried to annihilate his own people. Acting as chief prosecutor, Ferencz secured convictions against 22 Nazis.

Ferencz, the last-surviving prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals, passed away last week at the age of 103. As a child, he and his family fled anti-semitism in Romania. After finishing law school at Harvard, he joined the US army, taking part in the Normandy landings and the Battle of the Bulge. He was then assigned to General Patton’s HQ as part of a special unit investigating Nazi atrocities, interviewing survivors and witnessing first-hand the horrors of the concentration camps. That experience would shape the rest of his life. He would remain a warrior, not on the battlefield but in the public arena as a professor of international law and tireless campaigner for justice for the victims of genocide.

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Handout photo dated January 14, 2020 shows an MQ-9 Reaper flies over the Nevada Test and Training Range.

William Rio Rosado via Abaca Press via Reuters Connect

What We’re Watching: Drone drama, DeSantis vs. Ukraine, Japan hearts South Korea, Pakistan-Khan standoff

Drone drama over the Black Sea

In what is so far the closest thing to a direct clash between the US and Russia over Ukraine, a Russian jet on Tuesday crashed into an American drone over the Black Sea, sending the unmanned craft hurtling into the water.

Moscow disputes the claim, saying its jets didn't hit the drone. The US accused the pilots of two Russian Su-27s of being “unprofessional” and “environmentally unsafe” for harassing and “dumping fuel” on the $32 million MQ-9 Reaper drone.

But scholars point out that the US didn’t call the act “unlawful.” Russia was evidently within its rights to disrupt a drone in international territory that was almost certainly gathering intel for Moscow’s adversaries in Kyiv. Still, the incident shows the dangers of US and Russian military hardware operating in such close proximity, even if they aren’t in direct conflict.

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Russians committing "massive war crimes" in Ukraine
Ukraine Updates: Massive War Crimes Committed by Putin | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Russians committing "massive war crimes" in Ukraine

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Santa Monica, California:

Has Russia committed genocide in Ukraine?

Well, that's for the legal experts to sort out. There's a somewhat more liberal use of that particular term in American political debate than in Europe. In Europe, we are somewhat more careful with the use of that particular word for obvious historical reasons. But there's no question whatsoever that massive war crimes have been committed, and that primarily Putin has committed the number one crime on the international law, and that is aggression against another country. No question whatsoever.

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Going after war criminals
Ian Explains: What Is A War Crime? | GZERO World

Going after war criminals

The accusations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine have shocked the world. The Kremlin, of course, denies targeting civilians and says it’s the Ukrainians who are violating the rules of war. So what happens when one side does commit atrocities during a conflict?

It might be prosecuted for war crimes, like the Nazis who were tried in Nuremberg after World War II, just a few years before the latest version of the Geneva Convention was ratified in 1949, establishing the core of international humanitarian law.

More recently, the UN has set up special courts to prosecute war crimes like those in the former Yugoslavia (this week is the 30th anniversary of the start of the war in Bosnia), and 20 years ago the UN-backed International Criminal Court was established.

Such bodies were able to try the likes of Slobodan Milošević, the former president of Yugoslavia, and convict Charle Taylor, the Liberian warlord-turned-president.

But others evaded justice. Not everyone is on board with international tribunals for war crimes.

The US, China, and Russia have not joined the ICC — in the American case, Bill Clinton tried but it was never ratified by Congress.

Lack of jurisdiction will make it hard — but not impossible — to go after Russians accused of war crimes in Ukraine.

KL's Rome Statute U-turn a move to prevent coup: Minister

April 08, 2019 5:00 AM

Malaysia's decision to not accede to the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has snowballed into a massive fiasco, with claims that "people with vested interests" were manipulating the issue to pit the Malay rulers against the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and bring down the administration.

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