What Awaits the Minister of Defence of Ukraine Poltorak in Connection With the Criminal Case for Genocide

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



The Investigative Committee of Russia opened a criminal case against the Minister of Defence of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak, his four Deputies, and also against the chief of the Ukrainian General Staff Viktor Muzhenko and other high-ranking Kiev military personnel— in total 20 people. The criminal case was opened under the articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation: “Use of forbidden means and methods of conducting war” and “Genocide”. According to political scientists, despite the fact that currently it won’t be possible to bring Poltorak and his team to responsibility, but sooner or later the collected facts will become the basis for the creation of an international tribunal for Donbass.

As the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation reported, the opening of new criminal cases against high-ranking officials of Ukraine is connected with the fact that the Ukrainian military continue to commit crimes against the civilians of Donbass. The Investigative Committee of Russia documented the facts of “crimes against the peace and security of people in the southeast of Ukraine”, committed by the Minister of Defence of Ukraine and his subordinates, reported the Investigative Committee.

According to the Ukrainian political scientist, the President of the “Center for System Analysis and Forecasting” Rostislav Ishchenko, the opening of a criminal case against the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence today has rather a symbolical character and is intended to indicate the attitude of Russia towards the crimes committed in Donbass against civilians.

“This criminal case is an element of general political games,” commented Ishchenko to the Federal News Agency, having reminded that in 2014 the Ukrainian State Office of the Public Prosecutor initiated proceedings against the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Sergey Shoigu, and then even put the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation on the wanted list.

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“In order for such affairs as the ones against Poltorak and Muzhenko to be implemented, there must be a change of power in Ukraine,” noted Ishchenko. “I.e. in order for the case to be really set in motion, it is necessary for Poltorak to stop being the Minister of Defence of Ukraine. It is clear to all that a case against a statesman, against a minister who possesses diplomatic immunity, can’t be realized as long as this person holds office in his status”.

According to Ishchenko, most likely it also doesn’t make sense to appeal to Interpol in this situation — it is unlikely that this organization will put the Minister of Defence of Ukraine on the wanted list.

“You heard that Shoigu was pursued at the international level in connection with the case initiated against him in Ukraine? There is nothing like this now, and there won’t be. Shoigu is the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, Poltorak is the Minister of Defence of Ukraine. And the name of the country — Ukraine or Russia — in this case changes nothing. Interpol can’t pursue people who are protected by diplomatic immunity. And they certainly are protected,” noted Rostislav Ishchenko.

Nevertheless, according to the political scientist Aleksandr Asafov, a drop of water hollows out a stone, and the criminal case opened by the Investigative Committee of Russia against Poltorak and his accomplices will sooner or later form the basis of materials of an international tribunal for crimes of the Ukrainian army in Donbass.

“The criminal case against Poltorak is actually the creation of the legal base for a future ‘Hague’ tribunal,” noted Asafov in comment to Nation News. “All crimes committed in Donbass need to be documented and established. And the time for these documents will come. And then, respectively, it will be possible to, already without being unfounded or on the basis of some unsteady grounds, bring charges of genocide of civilians, and to work with recorded and proven evidence”.

According to the political scientist, it is very important work, and any actions in this direction must be welcomed.

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