How to Hold Russia Accountable for War Crimes?

What legal instruments exist to hold Russia accountable for its aggression?

Can Russia's actions in Ukraine be described as genocide? What is the Russian contribution to the shaping of international law? This is discussed in the next episode of Polihistor. Bartek Gajos spoke to Professor Patrycja Grzebyk from the University of Warsaw.

- Vladimir Putin makes sure that his actions in the international arena are always justified "legally". How does Russia carry out annexations? It is always a certain process: first the talk of self-determination of nations, the referendum and only the annexation. For the Russians, this is hugely important. - Professor Grzebyk said in the podcast. 

- In justifying their actions, the Russians argue that NATO has expanded. But is joining an alliance that is defensive in nature an armed attack? - She added.

'You also broke the law, so can we'?

- The argument used by Russia that 'you also broke the law, so we can' was rejected by the Nuremberg Tribunal, which after all had Soviet judges," - explains Prof. Patrycja Grzebyk.

Reparations for Ukraine?

- If we have a decision by the UN General Assembly to create a reparation mechanism, I believe that the first step towards using these $300 billion of Russian assets in the West as compensation for Ukraine has been taken.

Prof. Patrycja Grzebyk also explains how the issue of judging those responsible for the war in Ukraine is on the table.

- There is a conviction in the European Union that criminals should be tried, but perhaps not Vladimir Putin or the Prime Minister, because it is very likely that we will have to negotiate peace with them. That is why Ukraine is demanding a special tribunal that will have the courage to try the Russian president.