Carla Del Ponte, who previously served as a prosecutor for the United Nations war crimes tribunals, called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” and requested an international arrest warrant for him in an interview on Saturday.
His comments came in a story published by The weathera Swiss newspaper, according to the Associated Press.
Del Ponte previously served as chief prosecutor of the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The AP reported that in interviews with Swiss media, Del Ponte called attacks on civilians and the destruction of villages war crimes in Ukraine. She also castigated the use of mass graves in Ukraine.
“I was hoping to never see mass graves again,” Del Ponte told the newspaper. Blick, according to the AP. “These dead have loved ones who don’t even know what has become of them. This is unacceptable.”
Last week, an official with the United Nations Human Rights Office said there was “increasing information” about the mass graves used in Mariupol, Reuters reported. Mariupol is a Ukrainian port city targeted by the Russians in recent weeks.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it had opened an investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine on February 28, days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Karim Khan, the court’s chief prosecutor, wrote at the time that he was “satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to believe that alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine in relation to the events already assessed during the preliminary examination”. by the Office.”
If the ICC finds evidence of war crimes, Del Ponte said it “must work its way up the chain of command until you reach those who made the decisions,” the AP reported.
She also noted that potential war crimes investigations should be conducted for Russia and Ukraine, pointing to reports that Ukrainian forces tortured Russian prisoners. This week, a Ukrainian military leader branded images of soldiers allegedly torturing Russian prisoners of war as propaganda.
Newsweek attempted to reach Putin’s office for comment, but did not receive a response before publication Saturday afternoon. Newsweek also contacted the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
Late last month, the United States formally accused the Russian military of committing war crimes.
“The U.S. government will continue to follow up on war crimes reports and will share the information we collect with allies, partners, and international institutions and organizations as appropriate. We are committed to pursuing accountability using all available tools. , including criminal prosecution,” the US Secretary said. of State Antony Blinken wrote in a statement.