About a month back, International Criminal Court (ICC) concluded that the Russian leader had committed war crimes in connection with the abduction and deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children since Russia’s invasion in February 2022. According to it, Putin and Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, bore personal criminal responsibility for the forced ‘‘resettlement’’ of Ukrainian children. So, it made out a warrant against him. Forced deportation of populations is recognized as a crime under the Rome statute that established the Court. However, it is unclear how many children have been taken from Ukraine by Russian forces. Last month, the Yale Humanitarian Research Lab published a report alleging that at least 6,000 children from Ukraine had been sent to Russian ‘‘re-education’’ camps in the past year. But Ukrainian President puts the number to be 16,000. The Russian government has been overt about its taking Ukrainian children to Russia and placing them in camps or putting them up for adoption by Russian families. On 16 February last, Lvova-Belova appeared on television telling Putin about the programme and thanking him for being able to ‘‘adopt’’ a 15-year-old boy from Mariupol, the south-eastern Ukrainian city that was devastated and occupied by Russian forces. ‘‘Thanks to you, now I know what it’s like to be a mom of a Donbas child,’’ she told Putin.
In a statement, the ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, said: ‘‘Incidents identified by my office include the deportation of at least hundreds of children taken from orphanages and children’s care homes.’’ In deciding to issue the warrants, the ICC pre-trial chamber of judges considered keeping the warrants secret but decided that making them public could ‘‘contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes’’. Although Ukraine is not a signatory to the Court, it granted the ICC jurisdiction to investigate war crimes committed on its territory. Four visits by the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, over the past year have led to a ruling that ‘‘there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility’’ for the child abductions. Obviously, the Western imperialist powers and global media controlled by them have cheered the step of ICC.
This has been the first time that a warrant has been issued against a leader of one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. It is one of the rare occasions when the court has issued a warrant for a sitting head of state, putting Putin in the company of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, both of whom were staunch opponent of US imperialism.
Russia, incidentally, was a signatory to the Rome statute, but withdrew in 2016, saying it did not recognize the jurisdiction of the Court. Hence Russian authorities are defiant in the face of the ICC announcement. ‘‘The decisions of the international criminal court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view,’’ the foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said on her Telegram channel. ‘‘Russia is not a party to the Rome statute of the international criminal court and bears no obligations under it.’’ On the contrary, Russia’s top investigative body has opened a criminal case against the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor and judges who issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin on war crime charges. Though Putin seems secure in his power now and safe from extradition, but he will face limits on his freedom of travel to the ICC’s 123 member states, further deepening his isolation.
No doubt, Putin, as head of imperialist Russia created after sad dismantling of Soviet socialism following counter-revolution, has been pursuing hegemonic aspirations and the military aggression against Ukraine is a part of that. Any war which is generated by the imperialist powers, whether US or Russia, entails loss of enormous human lives and property. Hence, it is a crime and Putin is justifiably held responsible for having committed war crime.
But there is a hypocritical rub. ICC has found Putin as war criminal for a single aggression on Ukraine. But why did it maintain eerie silence when the US and its associates went on committing one after another horrendous war crimes that comprised killing lakhs of innocent civilians by using chemical and nuclear weapons? A string of American presidents and soldiers who launched a string of disfiguring wars on several still scarred countries and continents and set up a covert international abduction and torture racket have never, ever admitted having committed a war crime of any sort. Incomplete statistics showed that from the end of World War II to 2001, among the 248 armed conflicts that occurred in 153 regions of the world, 201 were initiated by the United States. Worst among them are the Korean war, wars against Vietnam, Afghanistan war, occupation of Iraq under fraudulent pretext, Kosovo war, engineering proxy-war against Syria and precipitating armed group conflicts in Sudan to eventually bifurcate that oil-rich country. More than 3 million civilians were killed and about 3 million people became refugees during the Korean war. During the war, the U.S. military secretly carried out a germ warfare in the northern region of the DPRK and parts of northeastern China. Vietnam war had caused as many as 2 million civilian deaths and rendered over 3 million people displaced. It is estimated that at least 350,000 tons of unexploded mines and bombs have been left by the U.S. military in Vietnam, and these mines and bombs are still explosive, which will take 300 years to be cleaned out. More than 2,000 people were killed, over 6,000 injured, and nearly 1 million people became refugees in the Kosovo war. The U.S. military operations in Afghanistan have killed and injured more than 1,00,000 civilians and created about 10 million refugees. The war of aggression against Iraq caused 200,000 to 250,000 civilian deaths, including 16,000 directly killed by US forces. Statistics show the total number of depleted uranium bombs exploded in Iraq exceeded 3,400 tons. Today in Iraq, there are still 25 million mines and other explosive remnants that need to be removed. According to data released by the UN, U.S. military intervention has claimed at least 3,50,000 lives in Syria, displaced more than 12 million people, and left 14 million civilians in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. About one-third of Syrians are faced with the food shortage crisis. (Xinhua 22-09-22) The total number of foreign sites with installations and facilities that are either in active use and service, or that may be activated and operated by American military personnel and allies, is over 1,000. According to the ICC, a cocksure British prime minister and his soldiers who joined their evangelical American cousins to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, destroying countless towns and cities and killing and making refugees of millions of innocents, have never, ever committed a war crime of any sort…Apparently, so-called ‘‘elite’’ Australian soldiers who murdered scores of Afghan civilians, including slicing children’s throats as part of a sick initiation ritual, have never, ever committed a war crime of any sort….a slew of Israeli prime ministers, soldiers and their proxies who have, for generations, targeted Palestinian kids, women and men and ‘‘civilian infrastructure’’ in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza, Lebanon and beyond, have never, ever committed a war crime of any sort. On 2 September 2020, the US slammed the ICC as ‘‘broken and corrupted’’ and derailed a probe into possible war crimes in Afghanistan by imposing sanctions on the court’s top prosecutor who had the audacity to investigate the dubious conduct of American soldiers. In an obscene quid pro quo, the ICC dropped the probe after then-US President Donald Trump and company dropped the sanctions…. ‘‘The ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter. Israel is not a party to the ICC and has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction, and we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,’’ Anthony Blinken, US Secretary of State, howled. (Al Jazeera-20-03-23)
If the ICC found the belated courage to accuse the US, Britain, Australia or Israel of war crimes and serve arrest warrants for any number of current and former heads of state, that could, in the court’s words, ‘‘contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes’’. Just two years back, Donald Trump, the former US President, at a White House briefing, admitted that ‘‘…The top people in the Pentagon …want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs & make the planes and make everything else stay happy’’. (Times of India 08-09-20) How could then the US applaud the ICC when it charges Russia with war crimes and excoriates the same body when it starts looking into whether America committed war crimes in Afghanistan and Israel against besieged Palestinians? The US President Joe Biden said that Putin had clearly committed war crimes and the ICC’s decision was justified. The Pentagon has compounded the President’s hypocrisy by reportedly refusing to share with the ICC evidence gathered by US intelligence services of Russian atrocities in Ukraine for fear that providing the court with such incriminating information may set a precedent that might help pave the way for it to prosecute Americans. Human Rights Watch, pertinent to add, has described the decision to issue an arrest warrant for Putin as a ‘‘wake-up call to others committing abuses or covering them up’’.So, both US and Russia, now representing two imperialist camps in the unipolar world, are equally guilty of committing crime on humanity. Over a 100 years back, great Lenin had said that it is imperialism which generates war. A large section of confused intellectuals supported the pro-imperialist lobby’s loud propaganda that with collapse of the socialist camp, the fear of war in the world was no more valid. But, now they find that despite absence of mighty socialist camp, which always stood against war and championed peace, wars have been breaking out more and more in number.
As ardent student of great Lenin, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, Founder General Secretary, SUCI(C), and an outstanding Marxist thinker of the era had explained way back in 1959 that ‘‘The antagonism based on competition between the powerful capitalist countries for establishing economic and political supremacy over weak and backward capitalist countries is intensifying day by day. All these facts show beyond doubt that Lenin’s thesis about the inevitability of wars in the era of imperialism is still valid as before.’’ (War and Peace, Peaceful Co-existence and Peaceful Transition to Socialism, SW Vol. I)
He further elaborated that ‘‘imperialism …as a world system, … Hard-pressed on all sides and rent with mounting crises, …is turning more and more to militarized economy. And the more militarized the economy is becoming, the more rabid imperialism is prone to indulge in its adventurist acts. In the matter of armament race and all-out preparations for war, the imperialists have broken all their past records. The military bases which the imperialists have built around the socialist camp are full of lethal weapons of mass destruction kept ready for action at a moment’s notice. In West Germany, the imperialists have revived German Revanchism. In Japan, militarism has been fully restored…
It would be possible to banish war for good from human society only when socialist revolution would become victorious throughout the world or when the present capitalist encirclement will be replaced by the encirclement of a few remaining capitalist countries by the world socialist system.’’ (ibid)
Based on Comrade Shibdas Ghosh Thought, our Party has been repeatedly stressing on the imperative that in absence of the Socialist Bloc, a surge of a worldwide powerful organized and well-coordinated anti-imperialist movement of the peace-loving people with genuine communists working as its core can alone be the bulwark against the war-monger imperialists. That only can deter demonic imperialist powers like US, UK, Russia or even China, now an imperialist country after completion of counter-revolution in 2004, from fostering war on people.