Novorossiya Must Bring Kiev’s War Criminals to Justice: A Legal Analysis

Global Research, October 12, 2014
 

war-crimes-eastern-ukraine-400x229Under the influence of an intense disinformation campaign much of the world has tried its best to ignore the existence of the sovereign state of Novorossiya (Federativnoye Gosudarstvo Novorossiya).  The Western media when it does mention Novorossiya applies denigrating terms like self declared state, unrecognized state and even puppet republic to describe the status of Novorossiya.  In fact under international law, Novorossiya has the same status as any other member of the community nations – it is a sovereign independent nation.

The “gold standard” of statehood is the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States enacted in 1933 The Montevideo Convention requires an aspiring state to have it own territory, population, a functioning government and the ability to enter into relationships with other states.  Novorossiya while not currently in control of all its territory has maintained an undisputed presence in Lugansk and Donetsk backed up by a seasoned army and security forces. There is a sizeable population in Novorossiya despite ethnic cleansing attempts by the Ukraine government. There is a functioning government and diplomatic efforts are ongoing as evidenced by the Minsk process.  In a just and fair world then Novorossiya would be welcomed into the fold of sovereign nations as its newest member.  But the world is neither just nor fair and Novorossiya is attacked by enemies in the West and blocked on other fronts by economic sanctions and diplomatic boycotts.

Nonetheless, Novorossiya has friends. The Russian people of course overwhelmingly support this new nation and South Ossetia has welcomed Novorossiya by diplomatically recognizing it.  Diplomatic recognition is an important first step towards international legitimacy since South Ossetia itself is recognized by four UN member states – Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nauru.  More recognition for Novorossiya of course would be desirable but is not necessary to establish legitimacy.  Somaliland for example which has been sovereign since 1991 and is recognized by no other country yet has maintained its complete independence and conducts business worldwide, issues passports and currency, and defends itself without any disapproval from the major powers. Novorossiya unlike Somaliland is an industrialized nation in Europe and not on the periphery of Africa, its relevance as an independent nation is asdsured.

But how does this relate to war crimes committed by Kiev’s political elite, Ukrainian armed forces and so called volunteer brigades of fascists?  Before the brilliant tactical victory by the Novorossiya self defence forces that broke the blockade of Dontesk and Lugansk in late August  2014, it appeared as if the entire command and political infrastructure of Novorossiya might be in real danger of liquidation, summary arrest or exile if Ukrainian forces and their foreign mercenaries stormed Donetsk and Lugansk.  The very real scenario of another unfair UN sponsored tribunal like the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia) which mainly persecuted Serbs for defending themselves was looming large in the vent Ukraine prevailed.

Personally, on the 4 months anniversary of the Odessa I was thinking shame on the ICC (International Criminal Court) which has ignored the snipers of the Maidan and the paid thugs who burned innocents alive in Odessa.  And God forbid the UN set up show trials to demonize the defenders of Donetsk and Lugansk. As an international human rights lawyer I believed there had to be a way for justice to prevail. I wrote an article suggesting the Council of Europe, a separate organization from the biased European Union, of which both Ukraine and Russia member might be a possible sponsor of a war crimes tribunal. [See:www.globalresearch.ca/crimes-against-humanity-committed-by-kiev-regime-the-case-for-an-independent-ukrainian-war-crimes-tribunal/5399117 ]

One of the Council of Europe’s main organs is the European Court of Human Rights. I was thrilled when the day after my article was published; Foreign Minister Lavrov met with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland. However nothing concrete has emerged and under heavy pressure from the United States the Council of Europe has proven itself no friend to Novorossiya through its inaction and has seemingly become yet another loudspeaker for Kiev’s backers.

Nonetheless, a war crimes tribunal is an important weapon against fascism. Fascists thrive in dark places and times and hide their identities behind masks and hoods; the threat of exposure their identities and deeds scares them greatly.  Even during the worst days of the Second World War, Himmler eased his murder of the Jews in Hungary in fear of prosecution after the war. The cowards and the cravens in Kiev, who allow their forces to target schools and mass transit in Donetsk would likely modify their behaviour if they risked indictment for war crimes from a recognized tribunal.  But the Kiev regime is currently well protected by backers in United States and NATO and consequently is emboldened in its attempts to intimidate the people of Novorossiya.

Therefore Novorossiya itself as a sovereign state must seize the initiative.  Just as Novorossiya and only Novorossiya defended itself from Kiev, it is only Novorossiya that can move forward with a war crimes tribunal. Evidence and testimony has been already been collected and it is abundant.  Many of the perpetrators both high and low are known and the rest will be discovered. The enablers, propagandists and funders of genocide outside Ukraine are also numbered and known for the most part.  There is no lack of allegations or suspects. What is lacking is the mechanism to bring them to justice.

Currently, Novorossiya is isolated. The threat of sanctions against the companies and persons of those who might help has unfortunately made the cause of justice take a back seat to economics and politics. Yet Novorossiya can act against war criminals and not just symbolically. Section 107 of the Restatement (Second) of Foreign Relations Law of the United States [1965] states that:

“An entity not recognized as a state but meeting the requirements for recognition specified in § 100 [of controlling a territory and population and engaging in foreign relations], or an entity recognized as a state whose regime is not recognized as its government, has the rights of a state under international law in relation to a non-recognizing state…”

See also Article 74 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties which states that “The severance or absence of diplomatic or consular relations between two or more States does not prevent the conclusion of treaties between those States.”  What all this means is that under international law Novorossiya may act avail itself of all the remedies under international law as long as some other states concur.

Novorossiya can set up not just a domestic tribunal but an international one that can reach beyond its borders. This is especially important because the war criminals are for the most, except for their foot soldiers, not on the borders of Novorossiya or inside the territory of Novorossiya.  The criminals are in Kharkiv, Denepetrovsk, Kiev, Lviv, Warsaw and beyond.  International reach is the key.  When the oppressed people of Ukraine finally wake out of their slumber and throw out the rascals in the Kiev government and cleanse the country of Nazis and corrupt oligarchs, the criminals will find a soft landing in Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada just as many blood stained Banderists did after Second World War.  The Vatican, MI6, and the predecessor to the CIA did all they could to help certain useful Nazis and their collaborators escape justice via the ratlines and find a new life as assets abroad. A repeat of this travesty of justice must be avoided as these rotten apples have a way of resurfacing later with their message of hate and ultra nationalism.

It is not enough to want justice for crimes.  It is not enough to investigate war crimes. The guilty must eventually be chased down and brought back to face justice for these efforts to be credible. The task is even more daunting when most of the major powers in the world are on the side of the killers.  Even the international organizations tasked with enforcing human rights, the ICC, the UN, and Council of Europe have abandoned their responsibilities to the people of Novorossiya.  Is a war crimes tribunal therefore a mission impossible?

A Modest Proposal

It is impressive that even in the midst of current battle for the Donetsk Airport brave people are collecting and documenting evidence of war crimes committed in the Donbass. The news media and human right activists from Russia have been particularly helpful. But who should be the recipient of the evidence? If the investigation of the downed Malaysian jetliner flight MH-17 is an indication of the sort of justice that can be found outside Novorossiya, I have serious doubts.. Evidence has been destroyed by the Ukrainian government, unfounded allegations of mass murder of innocent passenger of flight MH-17 levelled against not only Novorossiya but the Russian government which has been defamed by the press and politicians from Kiev to Kansas City. The Dutch team who are the lead investigators of the plane crash and from a NATO member state are susceptible to subtle and not so subtle pressure.  Everyone has been kept in the dark through a lack of transparency throughout the process.

On the other hand, why not turn the evidence over to a friendly country like Russia?  That also creates a problem.  Sanctions will flow like wine at a wedding and any results denied and discredited by a thousand naysayers in the Western press. I suggest Novorossiya must act on its own initiative against war criminals however not just domestically but internationally too.  As pointed out above, Novorossiya as a sovereign state may engage in foreign relations.  It can sue in the courts of other countries because it is an independent sovereign state under international law and its agencies are legal entities. Novorossiya may file cases with international tribunals. However, it is also blocked from membership in the major international organizations and the existing tribunals seem heavily prejudiced against Novorossiya.

Novorossiya therefore must set up its very own International Tribunal and give it independence to act in lieu of the UN, ICC, and Council of Europe. This bold act will result in recognition of the tribunal even when states may still shy away from recognizing Novorossiya itself. Progressive states will recognize the tribunal and its power to seize property and extradite criminals. Perhaps a third party country host can be found too.

But how can this be accomplished and who will do the work when the existence of Novorossiya still hangs in the balance? Much of the field investigation is being done already. However, the most important element is who will staff the Tribunal?  Yes people from Novorossiya and Russia but also lawyers and jurists from around the world who seek to advance the cause of justice should be encouraged to participate.  It is international participation and support that will give the proposed tribunal substance even as the UN and ICC have failed the people of Donetsk and Lugansk.

We live in a virtual world. While court rooms are still necessary, there exists the technology to supplement traditional methods of justice. Judges often conduct hearings via Internet while the accused are held elsewhere. Jurists and attorneys from around the world could act as judges, advocates for the defence and prosecution. International lawyers commissioned by Novorossiya could file actions to seize assets of blood stained Ukrainian oligarchs and politicians with bank accounts and property outside Ukraine for the benefit of the victims and their families. There are dozens of international lawyers who would help and they in turn know dozens more.

The war criminals are smug in the thought they have powerful friends outside Ukraine who will help them escape justice if their plans to subvert Ukraine and destroy the Donbass ultimately fail. Let us unleash a volunteer corps of a thousand lawyers linked by technology worldwide and undeterred by their governments. Novorossiya must give to them the commission to hunt down the war criminals and seize their assets. Give us lawyers the right to sue the merchants of death and destruction, the purveyors of deadly agitprop, and even the old networks of Nazis who are behind the Banderists.

Lawfare is a strategy of using law as a substitute for traditional military means to achieve an operational objective – in this case bring war criminals to justice and deter future crimes. The present day legal hurdles are surprisingly low and the proliferation of potential forums adds to the attractiveness of lawfare. Novorossiya can demonstrate standing and jurisdiction and is especially well situated to take advantage of lawfare. Legal action can be accomplished without loss of life or large scale deployment of assets. The only requirements are potential standing and a knowledgeable legal representative. A court filing often generates as much or more publicity than a military skirmish.

The world and its organizations have largely ignored, covered up or even condoned the war crimes committed against the people of Novorossiya.  The backers of fascism think they can act with impunity just as they did after the Second World War when Nazi war criminals used the Vatican run “ratline” to escape to South America and Spain. But the world has changed, technology and access to information has levelled the playing field. Novorossiya has demonstrated it can prevail against great odds on the battle field, now let the members of the international community who abhor war crimes use their skills and technology to make the seemingly impossible happen – to bring Kiev’s war criminals to justice.

The author, Dr. Jonathan Levy, is an attorney member of the International Criminal Bar and holds a PhD in Political Science.  He may be reached at info@brimstoneandcompany.com

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Unruly Hearts will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

US Combat Forces, FBI and CIA in Ukraine: Vice President Biden Congratulates Poroshenko for Violating Minsk Peace Agreement

 

biden-blasts-russiaObama continues using Kiev junta proxies to wage war on Donbass. He’s gone all-out to sabotage multiple peace efforts spearheaded by Russia.

He didn’t wage war to quit. He’s supplying Kiev with heavy weapons, munitions and other US aid.

US combat forces are in Ukraine working directly with its military. CIA and FBI operatives infest Kiev.

On March 18, Joe Biden called Poroshenko. He congratulated him for violating Minsk.

It calls for granting Donbass special status autonomous rule. Draft Kiev legislation designates it “temporarily occupied territories.”

A White House statement said Biden “welcomed the (parliament’s) adoption of implementing measures relating to the law on special status for certain areas of eastern Ukraine…”

He lied saying legislation adopted complies with terms stipulated under “September 2014 and February 2015 Minsk agreements.”

Kiev continues violating their letter and spirit with full US support and encouragement.

“The two leaders discussed the upcoming multinational training program for Ukraine’s (Nazi infested) National Guard forces, which the United States will support,” the White House statement said.

They ‘agreed” on maintaining sanctions on Russia. They lied claiming they’re in response to “Russia(n) violence and instability in” Donbass.

They concurred on pressuring “the international community…to increase the costs to Russia for pursuing such actions.”

Sergey Lavrov responded saying Washington wants Ukrainian crisis conditions settled militarily.

Kiev’s failure to grant Donbass special status violates its pledge to do so.

“If Washington welcomes the action, which undermines the Minsk agreements, then we can only conclude that Washington is inciting Kiev to resolve the issue by military means,” Lavrov explained.

“The Ukrainian leadership…basically terminated their commitments to engage in direct dialogue and negotiate with south-eastern Ukraine, including on the issue of elections, on the implementation of the law on the special status…”

Russia’s OSCE envoy Andrey Kelin accused Kiev of spurning conflict ending dialogue with Donbass.

“No lasting truce and sustainable ceasefire are possible without political settlement, and no such settlement is possible without dialogue,” he said.

“Kiev is categorically reluctant to speak with Donbas about political settlement. Last year’s developments seem to be reoccurring.”

“We saw it a year ago and it ended up, as we know, in Ukraine’s aggression against Donbas.”

“Kiev is seeking to fall into the same trap, arrogantly ignoring representatives of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics.”

“If they do not observe what has been agreed in Minsk after months of warfare, and Minsk agreements provide for a dialogue between the parties to the conflict to establish the DPR and LPR status, local elections in Donbas and normal political settlement, the risk (of attempts to solve the conflict by military means) considerably increases.”

Kiev systematically breached previous peace initiatives straightaway. It ignores Minsk II provisions.

It wants total control over Donbass regained. It intends seizing it forcefully.

Illegitimate prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk explained it several times. Most recently on Wednesday unambiguously saying “(o)ur goal is to regain control of Donetsk and Lugansk.”

Last April, naked aggression was launched to accomplish Kiev’s objective. Low-intensity conflict continues – heading toward resuming full-scale war at Washington’s discretion.

Expect it any time. Expect likely greater mass slaughter and destruction than before.

“We will fight using all method and techniques,” said Yatsenyuk. Meaning no-holds-barred dirty war – using banned weapons, willfully targeting civilians, and committing other egregious crimes of war and against humanity.

Expect Russia and rebels blamed for US/Kiev crimes like earlier. Chances for peace are nil.

At risk is direct US/Russian confrontation. Fox News is one of many presstitute platforms promoting it.

It features anti-Russian gun-slinging retired generals. Robert Scales told Fox the only way to change things in Ukraine is “start killing Russians.”

A criminal case was opened against him in Russia under Article 354 of its Criminal Code.

He advocates cold-blooded murder. He’s not alone. Active and retired US political and military officials want war on Russia.

Giving them national television air time increases the possibility. Lunatic fringe loose cannons infest Washington.

Retired General/former US army vice chief of staff Jack Keane wants US bases closer to Russia’s borders.

Sanctions and provocative military exercises aren’t enough, he says. He urges tougher actions.

“I think we’ve got to recognize that the security issues in Europe are no longer in Central Europe where our forces were post-WW2,” he said.

“The fact is they’re in Eastern Europe,  so we should realign our bases not on a temporary basis but on a permanent basis, put the air bases and the ground bases further into eastern Europe, move them out of Central Germany where they currently are.”

“That’ll cost some expense, but it’s absolutely worth it in terms of letting Putin know clearly that those countries, those Baltic countries…matter to us.”

“They are a part of NATO and we’re not going to accept any challenge to them.”

“This would send a really loud signal to them that clearly the security situation in Europe has changed.”

“It’s recognition of those changes. It’s a recognition of the intimidation and the threatening situation that is clearly developing.”

Fact: America’s only threats are ones it invents.

Fact: Eastern and Western European countries claiming Russian threats lie. None exist.

Fact: Positioning increasing numbers of US military combat troops near Russia’s borders heightens chances for direct confrontation.

Ukraine: The Plunder Continues

Published by ForRuss

voronezh_oleg_carev_kprf_03

Oleg Tsarev, Chairman of Novorossiya Parliament

It has been a year since many Ukrainians came out on the Maidan, wishing to “improve life” in their own understanding, namely by integrating Ukraine into Europe. One can already make an assessment of the consequences but, to put it mildly, they are not encouraging.
 

First Conclusion: Maidan was very well prepared

 

The preparations did not begin with Victoria Nuland’s cookies but much earlier, with Kravchuk and Kuchma who generously handed out national properties to “their own people”, with Yushchenko who delivered the coup de grace both to the economy and the military, and with Yanukovych, who placed his “overseers” in all regions of the country.

 

Only in the last 15 years infrastructure wear and tear increased from 40% to over 80%. As a result by early 2014 Ukraine reached a pre-default stage. Gold and hard currency reserves shrank to 15 billion dollars, the country’s inability to fulfill its financial obligations increased to 65%, reaching an almost absolute record.

 

By comparison, the media is reporting that Russia is considered to be at 17% risk of default. Yet Ukraine’s total debt to all creditors is, by Ukrainian standards, astronomically high at $65 billion.

 

What did Ukrainians receive in return? The budget started delaying even the most important payments to the regions and to the population, the hryvnia already lost almost half of its value against the dollar and 42% against the euro.

 

The fall of Ukrainian currency is accompanied by growth of retail prices. Inflation already reached 20%.

 

 
Second Conclusion: Ukraine was subsidized by Russia during its entire independence period.

 

This took mainly the form of lowering the price of energy.

 

The total level of subsidies exceeded $100 billion, and when Tymoshenko signed her “prison contract” forcing Ukraine to genuinely pay for gas, Ukraine’s budget instantly developed a “black hole” under the name of “Naftogaz” which amounts to 4-5% of the country’s GDP.

 

Of course, the national treasury did not empty itself out overnight, Yanukovych also made a contribution to that. However, right now the treasury is being filled by a massive currency emission by the National Bank of Ukraine which, according to Tymoshenko itself, is nearly equivalent to the entire national budget, exceeding $300 billion. Which spells a financial doom for the country.

 

Third Conclusion: The Plunder Continues

 

And it is continued by the followers of the kolomoyskiys, the poroshenkos, the yatsenyuks who came to power in the aftermath of the Maidan.

 

It all began with the transferring out of the country of Ukrainian gold reserves, and is continuing through profiteering on supplies to the combat zone, pumping out of petroleum needed to maintain the “Ukrnafta” oil pumping machinery, and by theft of 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas belonging to Firtash (originally purchased by a $1.4 billion credit from Gazprombank in order to preserve Ukraine’s chemical industry).

 

They do not shy away from direct seizure of factories belonging to their competitors. The most recent major seizure took place in Odessa, at an oil refinery.
 
Fourth Conclusion: “Western partners” are strenuously pretending that everything is all right

 

Unlimited currency emission and the de-facto freeze of hard currency markets, the banks’ inability to return deposits, the inability to fulfill budget obligations, all of that is being ignored. The International Monetary Fund does not even have, by its own mandate, the right to give money to a country in the middle of a war.

 

But the markets cannot be fooled. The interest rates on Ukraine’s Credit Default Swaps (CDS), Eurobond interest rates and internal currency obligations are beating all records, indicating that a default is inevitable. Business publications (The Economist, Der Welt, and others) are beginning to prepare investors for the inevitable: if Ukraine is not given, say, another 20-25 billion dollars in the nearest future (and this in addition to the IMF and EU assistance to the tune of $37 billion), Ukraine will declare bankruptcy.

 

The interest of a one-year Ukrainian bond increased from 10% at the beginning of 2014 to the unheard of 27% today. Analysts cannot recall another such massive jump.

 

The same is true for Ukraine’s default risk assessments. At the beginning it was rated at 49%, which is high enough, but during the period of greatest tensions with Russia the indicator jumped to 60%.

 

 
Fifth Conclusion: Ukraine has no money

 

The currency reserves of the National Bank of Ukraine are microscopic, and almost entirely consist of securities which nobody else wants (there are rumors that $6 billion of currency reserves were traded for shares in Lehman Brothers which went bankrupt in 2008), the exporters are not selling their hard currency since they themselves are struggling, and importers cannot obtain hard currency even for critical purchases.

 

At the same time Kolomoyskiy is supplying substandard body armor at their weight in gold and is increasing the capital of his own Privat Bank, while at the same time reducing tax obligations to the state.

 

Ukraine is bragging that it increased exports this year, forgetting to add that it accomplished that feat by exporting the last of its grain reserves. As to what will happen in the spring and how the people of Ukraine will be fed, it does not seem to concern the government.
 
No Coal for Power Plants and None in Sight

 

The Donbass coal cannot be purchased for ideological reasons since, according to Yatsenyuk himself, that would be “financing terrorists.” The entire energy sector of Ukraine is sustained by supplies of nuclear fuel from Russian Rosatom (which represents nearly 50% of  

The winter is coming, yet ‘the provision of heating of the population’ (as Klitchko famously said before) is still under question.

 

The efforts of the new Ukrainian ruling elite include not only the attempts to hurt Russia and the owners of Ukrainian Eurobonds (half of the total of $17.5 billion is owned by the US-based Templeton Fund), but also their own citizens, otherwise the Ukrainian “bust-out” might fail.

 

They are even attempting to cut off the untamed Donbass from the Ukrainian financial system and close government offices and banks in the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics. That is to say, to abandon to their fate more than 4 million of our citizens by claiming that Donbass is not making budget contributions. And those are the policies which, in their view, are supposed to revive Ukraine’s economy.
 
Kiev is accelerating its own collapse

 

Donetsk alone fulfilled 89.2% of its budget contributions in 10 months. Yet now the retirees are being told that their pensions are not being paid by Kiev since June because allegedly Donbass has not been making transfers to the national budget. This despite the fact that since January Donetsk alone transferred 5.519 billion hryvnia, of which 4.746 billion went into the national pension fund.

 

One should also add that Donbass represents almost a third of Ukraine’s industry, nearly all of its coal, and a fourth of its exports.

 

Only one conclusion can be made on the basis of the above: a crisis is coming, and it will take many forms.

 

1. The paralysis of the budget and the banking system. Default before individual depositors (which already took place as far as the inhabitants of Crimea and Donbass are concerned). Multi-month delays in the payment of salaries, pensions, benefits. The seizure of industries belonging to the competition (mainly Firtash, Akhmetov, the Yanukovych group). Plunder of the remnants of state property. The ultimate bankruptcy of Naftogaz. 

 

But the key element of the process of the collapse of the economy is the default by the state before its own people, which can take place not only in the form of direct failure to fulfill social obligations but also through hyperinflation. This would represent a total war, aimed against one’s own country.

 

2. Possibly (in parallel or slightly later) a chaotic external default, which may be triggered by the collapse of the IMF program (the next tranche was delayed until Kiev satisfies at least some of IMF’s conditions). Once that happens, Ukraine’s Gas Transit System will be snapped up for pennies (that system is only needed as long as an agreement with Gazprom exists), alongside other remaining “gems”. 

 

3. A total war against Novorossia (or Russia) is possible as a consequence, or an attempt to delay a complete economic collapse and chaos. After all, one can never blame the Maidan for anything. But will the people fall for it?

 

Right now Ukraine needs an injection of at least 100-120 billion dollars, which could prevent a sharp economic collapse. In the absence of such an injection the country’s GDP is likely to drop by 50%, implying the collapse of the country’s whole economy.

 

The final destination on this path is a catastrophe and complete bankruptcy, which would be an unprecedented trial not only for the people of Ukraine, but also for Russia, Europe, and the entire world. But the crisis can no longer be stopped; one could still try to switch course to a pro-Russian, Anti-Maidan one, but that is out of the question for those who have inspired the Maidan.

 

And therefore a collapse is not to be avoided.
 
Translated for ForRuss.blogspot.com