Great Decisions: WAR CRIMES

What is a war crime? How does this definition apply to recent events in Ukraine?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in widespread charges of war crimes and calls for justice. But what exactly are war crimes? Opinions of what constitutes a war crime have evolved, as have ways to identify and punish the perpetrators. How will the war crimes committed in Ukraine be dealt with? By Francine Hirsch


Here is the master class video

There is a press release in the war crimes update above titled: London to host major international meetings on war crimes” in March 2023.


Summary of the war crimes discussions

Yesterday we discussed the following:

  • History of war crimes
  • The organizations that were set up over the years to apprehend, try, and punish the offenders (with little outcome):

o   ECtHR- European Court of Human Rights.

o   ICC- International Criminal Court

o   ICJ- International Court of Justice

o   ICTR- International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

o   ICTY- International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

o   IMT- International Military Tribunal

o   ODIHR- Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

o   OSCE- Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

o   UNWCC- United Nations War Crimes Commission.

  • Even though the above commissions “have no teeth” they do serve a purpose in making the world be aware of the atrocities that are taking place.
  • Track Record for criminal responsibility is mostly soldiers. The military leaders and heads of states are rarely subjects to prosecution.
  • The Russian invasion of Ukraine was not in self-defense, nor in collective self-defense, and without Security Council approval. Thus it is classified not only as a war crime, but as a crime against humanity, a pattern of systemic violation of a war crime.
  • Tens of thousands of mercenaries are believed to be fighting for Russia in Ukraine.
  • Putin is unlikely to be prosecuted and will possibly stay in power until displaced internally.
  • Do sanctions work, or are they mostly affecting the poor? Is Russia actually suffering or is it getting support from friendly countries like China, North Korea, and India?
  • It is a moral obligation for the US to support a country that is being affected by a war crime. Offering arms and spending money is less drastic than boots on the ground.
  • Major expenditures for the US government are in healthcare (25%), Social Security (21%), and defense (13%).
  • Is the U.S. a criminal society?
  • Only the 1950 Korean war and the 1990 Gulf war were “blessed” by the Security Council. The other wars in recent history (1999 Kosovo, 2003 Iraq, 2011 Libya, 2008 Georgia, 2014 Crimea, and 2022 Ukraine were war crimes or crimes against humanity.
  • 99% or war crimes or tribunals are handled by the aggressor country.


Feb 07 2023


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


The Colloquium Room in the LR Rudisill Library
625 7th Ave NE, Hickory, NC 28601.


Hani Nassar