Putin’s war: restorative reflections

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    The hearts of all restorative justice people are with the suffering of the people of Ukraine. We draw inspiration from the tenacity of their resilience as a people with a right to defend their independence and identity and from so many acts of kindness at border crossings. Is this Ukraine’s finest generation of its long history of suffering and struggle against tyranny? Of all crimes, the criminal law must insist that war crimes are shameful, not heroic. War making cannot be read as a realm of pure realpolitik; it must be constrained by rules of the international order. So, it is heartening that the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has commenced war crime investigations that examine conduct on all sides, with leading jurists discussing paths to charge Vladimir Putin with the crime of aggression for the invasion itself (Sands, 2022). Of course, it must be cautioned that in the past NATO leaders should have been charged with the crime of aggression for cases like Iraq, and for other crimes committed on all sides after such uninvited, unprovoked invasions. The ICC must attend to legitimacy as an institution that is better than just a NATO pawn. The Ukraine case is particularly egregious, not just for the sheer scale of slaughter and bullying. The Russian state has never before put its nuclear forces into a heightened state of alert. There has been no occasion since the end of the Cold War when any of the major nuclear powers raised its nuclear force alert level in an attempt to coerce another side, let alone in the midst of major war.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalThe International Journal of Restorative Justice
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


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