D.Robert Badinder, a 94-year-old French lawyer, has spent his life fighting against the abuse of the judiciary and anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism. He was Minister of Justice under Franுவாois Mitterrand, who in 1981 confirmed the abolition of the death penalty. Patinder is still considered a moral authority in France.
He was twelve years old when World War II began. His Jewish parents today came from Besarabia, the Republic of Moldova, and fled to France free from anti-Semitic massacres, where they became citizens. Nevertheless, father Simon Badinder was deported and killed in the extermination camp at Sophie, his uncle Naftul Rosenberg in Auschwitz.
World: Shocking pictures of civilians killed from Monsieur Badinter, Pucha, went around the world over the weekend. What are the consequences of this?
Robert Badinder: The massacres found around Kiev were clearly war crimes and deliberate. The perpetrators will be held accountable and they will have to answer to the International Criminal Court. Prior to that, the Hague court’s criminal prosecutor must begin the investigation on the spot, gather evidence and evidence, and proceed with the criminal investigation.
World: Is that real?
Badinder: Since the Russian tanks rolled over the border with Ukraine on February 24, the judiciary has not stood idly by. The Attorney General of the International Criminal Court in The Hague has mobilized all departments to gather evidence: photographs, interviews with eyewitnesses, digital documents. This may seem secondary when a conflict erupts, but if you know the history of the International Criminal Court from former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, you know that it is necessary. If war crimes evidence is not collected immediately it will disappear. Contemporary witnesses may also die or be reluctant to testify later. Evidence is important. Without evidence, there is no trial, no conviction. This is important not only for the story, but also for justice.
World: Why is the International Criminal Court still turning a blind eye to the Russian occupation?
Badinder: In fact, the outgoing Attorney General has shown little interest in confronting the Russian occupation since 2014. Maybe she had no way out. In contrast to his predecessor, the new Attorney General (Kareem Ahmed Khan, ed.) Seems to me to be very assertive. He rightly calls for more investigators and additional funding. It is noteworthy that the Hague Court has taken a tough stance so quickly. My only regret is that this quick response went somewhat unnoticed by the public. The case, filed by Ukrainian lawyers, was quickly confirmed and the court condemned Vladimir Putin’s allegations of genocide by Ukrainians against Russian citizens. Within three weeks of the invasion, the criminal court ordered Russia to immediately end the violence. Ten of the twelve judges, with the exception of the Russians and the Chinese, supported the decision. This decision suggests that there is no evidence to support the allegations that Putin is using to justify his invasion.
World: Is that enough?
Badinder: No, even if it is important, we should not wait for the United Nations. Although the General Assembly condemns crime and assault, it is purely symbolic. Only the Security Council trusts these issues, and nothing can be expected from them because of the veto rights of Russia and China. That is why the International Criminal Court is so important.
World: Is Putin personally to blame?
Badinder: Not only Putin, but also his allies. History has shown us that justice can be achieved by the victors, that is, by the end of the conflict. The Nuremberg Trials took place after the fall of the Nazi regime, not during the war. I firmly believe that none of the high-ranking officials of the Nazi regime expected to stand trial one day – this was not the case with Hermann Goring or Joachim von Ribbentrop or Werhelm Keitel, Vermaச்சs’ high command. We owe them a debt of gratitude to Anglo-American legal culture above all else and, above all, to Judge Felix Frankfurt, a close friend of Franklin Roosevelt. Stalin, too, believed that only the victors would deliver justice, but in his view the bullet in the neck was a just punishment. Churchill also believed that the guilty should be caught and hanged. The Americans won, and after a heated public debate with the evidence for the crimes they committed, we must thank the Nazis responsible and convicted for their crimes.
World: But this means: If Putin’s rule continues, will the international judiciary be weak?
Badinder: The matter is very complicated. After all, these are indefinite crimes. The perpetrators can be prosecuted and prosecuted for the rest of their lives. We have to ask ourselves who is responsible for this. This is not just an almighty dictator. Next to him are the commander-in-chief of the army, senior officers and all those involved in industrial decision making, weapons production or war financing. They can all be held accountable as individuals can be held accountable individually as stated by the International Criminal Court in its laws. Obedience or action cannot be used as an excuse. Those involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity are knowingly responsible for their actions. Of course, as Russian head of state, you can not arrest Putin in the Kremlin. But many of his allies, civilians and military decision-makers can be prosecuted.
Even if Putin disappears, others will have to answer for their actions. Because crimes against humanity are not subject to limits and the International Criminal Court has far-reaching jurisdiction, perpetrators and accomplices run the risk of being punished by international courts for the rest of their lives. I do not know if the senior Russian officers are really interested in being monitored by international warrants. Selfish groups are even less so. The Russian multi-billionaire wants to enjoy life on his boat rather than being locked up in the Crimea or the Caucasus. I do not doubt their patriotic feelings, but they have interests as well.
World: Are you saying that Putin will lose the support of oligarchy?
Badinder: What I am saying is that if we are determined, they will be held accountable. Lady Justice’s sword is not designed to be on its shoulder. Although justice cannot resurrect the dead, crimes must be punished.
World: Human rights lawyer Philip Sands has summoned the Special Criminal Court. Does it matter?
Badinder: I welcome such attempts, but must first use the criminal weapons at our disposal. After all, we have companies. We are no longer the Europe of 1944. We have enough experience and only need to provide companies with adequate resources and expand their capabilities.
World: Do you believe that one day there will be enough evidence to hold such an inquiry?
Badinder: Yes, I have no doubt about that. This is a definite thing. This is not easy because you have to overcome the doubts of some and of course some national obstacles. William III said that you do not have to believe that you have to try, you do not have to persevere to succeed.
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