By Joel Mathis, The Week
Vladimir Putin is a war criminal. That’s not a strict legal judgment — not yet, at least — but the evidence keeps growing. Ukraine officials over the weekend said they had discovered a mass grave in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, and journalists visiting the city described its streets as strewn with the bodies of civilians apparently executed by retreating Russian forces.
“This is genocide,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday.
Outside observers are calling for prosecutions. Carla Del Ponte, a former war crimes prosecutor, over the weekend called for authorities to issue an international arrest warrant against Putin. That would probably be fine with the United States: President Biden has also called the Russian leader a “war criminal,” and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken followed up last month with the announcement that the American government has formally determined that “members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine.”
“As with any alleged crime,” Blinken said in the official statement, “a court of law with jurisdiction over the crime is ultimately responsible for determining criminal guilt in specific cases.”
The U.S., though, is ill-positioned to help bring about that justice — not without cloaking itself in immense hypocrisy, at any rate.