On the last day of March 2005, I sat in the ambassador’s office at our UN mission in New York, waiting for a call. My US counterpart called me to see if they could accept the final changes we proposed to a UN resolution or if they would have to veto it. With relief and excitement, we learned that the United States would accept the text, which became UNSCR 1593, which referred the situation in Darfur (Sudan) to the International Criminal Court (ICC), bringing it to court. Firstly.
ussia, then a permanent member of the Security Council, voted in favor of that resolution. Who would have thought that 17 years later, the United Kingdom, Ireland and dozens of other UN member states would vote to put Russia on the ICC docket for its aggression in Ukraine? In September 2005, Russia voted to create the United Nations Human Rights Council. Who would have thought it would be subject to condemnation by the council last week for its actions in a neighboring state? A permanent member of the UN’s highest body, actually its president until a few days ago, has become an internationally renowned, well-meaning figure.
Now international justice must be done, and be deemed done. The path of justice can be long and the wheel of justice turns slow, but the timing of that process is vitally important. And it started.
Other steps are being taken rapidly. The UK and Ireland, along with our other international partners, have increased their aid delivery to Ukraine – financial, security and humanitarian – while imposing an unprecedented package of sanctions on Putin and his regime. We stand with Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
Our governments determine that Russia’s actions cannot and will not go unanswered and unpunished. Putin is violating international law, including the Charter of the United Nations and many commitments to international peace and security. Human rights are being violated; Human lives are affected in ways we don’t expect to see again on our continent.
The world must respond to these atrocities, and an important part of that will be action to uphold the principle of international law. As a result, last week, the United Kingdom and Ireland in a coalition of nearly 40 countries submitted to the International Criminal Court atrocities committed in Ukraine. This coordinated international action means that the ICC Prosecutor can immediately launch an investigation without any further approval.
Last week marked a grim anniversary of the Russians’ earlier crimes. Four years ago, the British city of Salisbury was subjected to a chemical weapons attack by Russian spies. The attack left five people injured and one dead. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has confirmed the use of the nerve agent Novichok. To this day, Russia still denies responsibility for the attack. However, its guilt is obvious to any objective observer, as is its murderous collusion in war crimes, including the use of chemical weapons, by the regime. brutal fraternal dictatorship in Syria.
With each passing day, with each innocent death on the streets of Ukraine’s cities, Russia’s isolation on the world stage becomes more urgent than ever. It must also be held accountable for its crimes. Putin has made it very clear that he is not concerned with international law, or indeed with the sanctity of human life. That is why we must hold him and his regime accountable and ensure justice is done. This is part of a six-part plan laid out by the British prime minister in The New York Times on March 6.
The Russian Embassy in Dublin is located – some might say in every sense of the word – on Orwell Road. George Orwell once wrote, “If freedom means anything, it means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear”. The Russian regime may not want to hear it, but they need to hear, loud and clear, from the entire civilized world that their behavior is unacceptable, truly unscrupulous, and it will have dire consequences for their own people.
A less gifted writer than Orwell (mine) is responsible for the following lines, agreed upon by Nato leaders at their 2016 Summit. I think they apply fully today, and not just to Nato but to that entire civilized world. We “do not seek confrontation and pose[s] no threat to Russia. But we cannot and will not compromise on the principles on which our alliance and security in Europe and North America are based. “
Paul Johnston is the British Ambassador to Ireland
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/russias-permanence-on-security-council-does-not-give-impunity-on-atrocities-of-war-41440446.html Russia’s Persistence in the Security Council Doesn’t Ignore War Crimes