Said-Emin Ibragimov Requests International Criminal Court to Open a Criminal Case Against Putin (LETTER TO PROSECUTOR), July 5, 2014
|WRITTEN BY ADMINISTRATOR|
|SATURDAY, 05 JULY 2014 12:42|
TO THE PROSECUTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
Mrs Fatou Bensouda
P.O. Box 19519
2500 CM, The Hague
I am addressing this Communication to you with a request to open a criminal case proprio motu against President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and military and political personnel of the Russian Federation who have committed heinous crimes, – Aggression, Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and War Crimes – against the Chechen people. Please accept my application to open and conduct an objective investigation to bring to justice all the individuals responsible for these bloody crimes and objectively assess the extraordinary situation associated with the fact that the Chechen Republic is currently under occupation by the Russian Federation, with all the attendant consequences of that fact.
These consequences do not allow representatives of the Chechen people to appeal directly to the International Criminal Court in the normal manner, but bureaucratic formalities should not provide protection for the bloodthirsty perpetrators of crimes to which there are a huge number of witnesses all over the planet. In order to avoid establishing a dangerous precedent of impunity for bloodthirsty criminals and to restore historical justice, I ask you to use such universal jurisdiction as is permissible for the International Criminal Court and to seek a way of investigating this case through the procedure of proprio motu on the basis of Article 15 of the Rome Statute and this Communication. I solemnly declare my belief that the crimes committed by political and military personnel of the Russian Federation against the Chechen people fall within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
Bearing in mind that the jurisdiction of the ICC is not retroactive and that the Court may consider only crimes committed after the coming into force of the Rome Statute and the establishment of the Court, I request that you acknowledge as fact that (de jure and de facto) the war crimes of political and military personnel of the Russian Federation against the Chechen people are ongoing, that no Treaty of Peace has been concluded, and that the territory of Chechnya has been occupied and annexed by Russia. Each of these facts provides grounds for initiating criminal proceedings against the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, and other guilty parties who have committed and continue to commit crimes against the Chechen people at the present time, after the coming into force of the Rome Statute and the establishment of the Court. The refusal by the rulers of Russia (for obvious reasons) to ratify the ICC Statute cannot be used as a legal and logical reason for the impunity of major criminals, the description of whose crimes will fill hundreds of volumes.
Political and military personnel of the Russian Federation attempted to use a premeditated method of justifying their crimes in Chechnya, and for this purpose from the outset planned to start a war under the pretext of “protecting Russian lives”. For this, they even placed information in advance in the media about a “genocide of the Russian-speaking population of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria”. This devious plan was subsequently used by Russian spin doctors against Georgia and Ukraine. Russia’s plan was unsuccessful in Chechnya, as their intelligence agencies failed to create an armed confrontation between Russians and Chechens, who had for many years lived in friendship without any particular problems in their relationship. Nevertheless, discrimination on ethnic grounds against Chechens continues now not only in Russia but also far beyond its borders.
The myth of genocide of Russians in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria was systematically propagated, and to this end the media played up individual domestic incidents. The number of citizens “killed by the Chechens” included Russian-speaking citizens of the CRI who, for the most part, were killed by Russian aerial bombing, Russian bullets and shells, although there were isolated cases of murder on both sides. Even in those challenging times, these led to criminal proceedings. Many Chechens understood that Russian-speaking citizens of the CRI were among the most vulnerable people in Russia itself and offered them a helping hand. Restoring the rights of the Russian-speaking population of the CRI remains an issue at the present time. The deviousness, injustice and extreme brutality of Russia’s war against the Chechen people is to this day veiled in semi-secrecy.
Russian political and military personnel prepared systematically for war against the CRI long before it started, exploiting their numerous advantages. With experience of fuelling conflicts and hatred of enemies, the intelligence services committed acts of terrorism and other crimes, attributing them to Chechens, or with the direct participation of their own Chechen agents of influence. These acts of terror and atrocities were filmed by video camera during the staged commission of the crime and represented to the international community as “terrorist acts typical of the Chechen mentality.” These and many other methods (unknown to the naive Chechens) were used to form a negative image of the Chechen people among the international community. There was criminal, systematic discrimination against Chechens from every direction.
In order to shift the blame for their crimes on to the victims of their crimes (the Chechen people), known Chechen criminals, and others potentially capable of committing crime were recruited and artificially given a high profile for subsequent exploitation. These people were lionised and infiltrated into the ranks of the Chechen Resistance. Each was allocated a role by the Russian intelligence agencies and, even while performing these roles, many of them may not even have been aware that they were collaborating with the Russian intelligence agencies and Armed Forces of Russia to commit crimes against their own people.
For the first time in its centuries-old history, the Chechen people was sharply divided into friends and foes, supporters and opponents of Independence, and especially into different religious groups. For the first time, repressive pro-Russian security units were formed in Chechnya which unquestioningly carry out all orders, including criminal orders, from their Russian idol, Putin. Abductions, extrajudicial killings, and an atmosphere of fear have become the norm in the lives of the Chechen people. A Chechen Fifth Column acts jointly in Chechnya with numerous Russian armed forces, intelligence agencies and death squads.
Through a variety of methods and repressive measures against particular religious groups, they facilitate the creation of an armed underground to continue the bloodshed and “justify” all their new crimes. The best sons and daughters of the Chechen people and of the entire Caucasus are volunteering to die for their homeland, little suspecting that their every move and action is being monitored by the Russian intelligence agencies and manipulated by Russian agents. The bloodshed is no longer confined to Chechnya, but extends to all the countries in the Caucasus.
The main culprit of this inhuman and bloody scenario, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, to this day goes unpunished and continues to devise new scenarios and commit new crimes. By using the threat of nuclear weapons, Putin coerces the international community into classifying the most monstrous crimes against the Chechen people as “an internal matter for Russia”. He toys with the lives of people, building up his power, not because he has any lack of power, but because without the protection which force and power afford, he might find himself the defendant in a criminal court. Putin’s consolidation of his power and rapid accumulation of financial capital is a potential threat to peace on earth and the international community, and it is important that this should be realized.
Madam Prosecutor and High Court, I ask you to show firmness and integrity in applying the principle of the rule of law in reality and for the restoration of historical justice, which will ultimately result in the strengthening of security and peace on earth. Restoration of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the tormented Chechen people is only possible if you, despite the legally unjustified obstacles erected by political and military personnel of the Russian Federation, act from a position of generally accepted norms and principles of international law and of the rule of law. Even the most unsophisticated criminal creates an alibi before committing a crime; that is, circumstances which can ensure his impunity. For this purpose, Russia mobilises all its immense capabilities, and at present the ICC, as well as other international courts, is being led by the nose by the Russian criminals to remain silent about the Chechen issue.
If you wish to preserve the mission and good name of the ICC, you cannot restrict yourself to prosecuting only those criminals who are unable to defend themselves by force. Sooner or later you will have to take a firm and principled stand in respect of the crimes of Russia, without being intimidated by its potential to abuse power. The place for criminals is in the dock. In this case, you have the opportunity not only to restore justice, but also to establish a historic precedent which will make potential criminals of every rank think about the inevitability of punishment, and cause them to refrain from similar crimes in the future. Criminal prosecution of the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes of the century against civilians in Chechnya will restore faith in the international community in justice and due process of law, save millions of lives, and impact positively on the future of human civilization.
Having satisfied themselves that international institutions and politicians are indecisive and unable to curb those who consider themselves all-powerful, Russian political and military personnel, under the leadership of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, criminally disregard international law and justice. By murders within Russia and far beyond its borders, they suppress dissent and threaten their other potential victims that they may do the same to them if they dare to talk, write, or otherwise recognise the criminal nature of their bloody crimes. This, and reference to political inexpediency, is the main reason why many politicians, committed journalists, and even human rights activists, essentially defending the rights of a criminal regime, everywhere go to great lengths to ignore the Chechen issue, under the pretext of deferring to “stabilization” in Chechnya.
The Russian media, reporting the deaths of civilians in Ukraine, overlook the fact that the Ukrainian scenario was largely devised in the Kremlin by analogy with Chechnya. They shy away from mentioning that Russian political and military personnel are primarily responsible both for the crimes against the Chechen people and against the people of Ukraine. World politicians and national leaders remain silent on this point, despite the relatedness of these events. Those making major political decisions try to dismiss from their memory the problems of the Chechen people, although they should be mindful that all these things are interlinked.
The Chechen people are unlikely to be so forgetful of the indiscriminate bombing of Chechen centres of population using weapons banned by international conventions, indiscriminate massacres, abductions, inhuman and degrading torture, extrajudicial killings, and other large-scale crimes against civilians which no one has officially recognised as crimes. Or was it that nobody dared, or was interested in stigmatising them as crimes, fearing that to do so might adversely affect their political, economic, or personal interests? They overlook the possibility that they or their loved ones may be potential victims of the criminals. They forget the terrible consequences of inaction on the part of the international community during the appearance and rise of fascism in Germany, and of Russian chauvinism in the first half of the twentieth century. We all know how that cowardly silence and indifference ended.
The modern world, unfortunately, also fails to learn the lessons of our tragic history. A heavy blow has been dealt to universal values developed by human genius over many centuries, of which the most important are the rule of law and defence of human rights and freedoms. The main culprits of this immense damage are undoubtedly Putin and his “pyramid of power”, who have been guilty of crimes the like of which the world has not seen since the Second World War. Blackmailing and waving their “nuclear big stick”, passing any law which suits their interests, repressing and murdering dissidents, pressuring the international community to remain silent about the crimes committed in Chechnya, they continue to build up their criminal power and are a potential threat to the rest of the world.
Untying this criminal knot is possible only if there is firm determination on the part of the international community and the Court. The weakness of the international community in leaving crimes unpunished has galvanised the Russian criminals to commit further crimes, and among their victims have been: sovereign Georgia, against which Russia waged war in 2008, and Ukraine in 2013, with blatant annexation of their territories which showed up the feebleness of the international community and international law. It demonstrated that in the modern world might is still right.
Russia tested this in Chechnya and, finding that the international community was not prepared to present a united front against the tyranny of powerful criminals, flaunted its disdain for international institutions and universally recognised norms and principles of international law. Russia planted an evil root in Chechnya, and has already propagated the same poisonous root to the Georgian and Ukrainian peoples. If the international community continues to remain silent about the bloody crimes, and methods used by Russia to justify its crimes, in Chechnya, this evil growth will inevitably spread.
Describing the detail of crimes committed against the Chechen people is not enough to bring the culprits to court, and has only moral force. Accordingly, we give below merely a brief outline of the most serious crimes perpetrated by the political and military personnel of the Russian Federation against the Chechen Republic and its multi-ethnic people:
The Crime of Aggression
The Russian Federation on 11 December 1994 and on 6 September 1999 unleashed two bloody wars, with the involvement of a Russian Army many thousands strong, against the Chechen Republic and its multi-ethnic people. According to Resolution 3314, adopted at the 29th Session of the UN General Assembly on 14 December 1974, such actions count as a Crime of Aggression. Section XII (Chapter 34) of Article 353 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation classifies as crimes against peace the planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression. In both the above cases, the committing by the Russian Federation of Crimes of Aggression against the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Chechen people is in no doubt.
As the ICC does not as yet have jurisdiction over Crimes of Aggression, we merely note the fact of Aggression. After the Court adopts provisions in accordance with Articles 121 and 123 which define the Crime and set out the circumstances in which the Court will exercise jurisdiction in respect of this Crime, appropriate addenda to this Communication will be forwarded.
The Crime of Genocide
The Crime of Genocide was premeditated by political and military personnel of the Russian Federation, under the direction of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, with the intention of wholly or partially annihilating the Chechen people.
The premeditated nature of this Crime was confirmed by an official statement of the former Prime Minister, now President, of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, on 24 September 1999, during a press conference in Astana, where he commented on the events of the previous day, namely the bombing by Russian aircraft of the Chechen city of Grozny. Replying to reporters of the ORT television channel about these bombings and the indiscriminate killing of civilians, Putin said, and we quote verbatim, referring to all Chechens without identifying any individuals:
“We will pursue the terrorists everywhere. At the airport, if that is where we find them. So, if you will excuse me, if we catch them in the toilet, we will pulp them in the latrines, if it comes to that. That is it. All further discussion is over.”
In making public this murderous and illegal threat, Putin made it unambiguously clear that he personally was sentencing to death all Chechens, without burdening himself or his subordinates with the need to collect evidence against the victims of their crimes. With this criminal threat, which translated from the language of the common criminal into the language of human beings expresses his intention to murder without legal investigation, Putin signalled to his subordinates that they were now at liberty to commit crimes without fear of punishment. He revealed his evil and criminal intent of committing Genocide against the Chechen people and violated one of the basic principles of criminal justice: presumption of innocence, enshrined in Part 2 of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The massive indiscriminate bombing of peaceful towns and settlements, the massacres of innocent people (including Russians, whom the Russian rulers falsely claimed they had “intended to protect”) which followed in the wake of Putin’s statement, prove that his threat was de facto directed not at specific “terrorists” but at the entire civilian population without discrimination. How Putin’s threat was carried out is documented in the Russian and international press.
Madam Prosecutor, I ask you in your investigation and verdict to pay particular attention to the above threat by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. This statement was followed by the murder of many thousands of innocent people, including more than 40,000 children, and other inhuman crimes against hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens of the Chechen Republic. These extrajudicial killings and other atrocious crimes testify to the premeditated Genocide of the Chechen people by political and military personnel of the Russian Federation under the leadership of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
The necessary evidence and additional materials to prove the committing of the Crime of Genocide by political and military personnel of the Russian Federation against citizens of the Chechen Republic have been prepared and will be presented in the course of your investigation.
Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes
Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes which have been committed and are still being committed by political and military personnel of the Russian Federation against the Chechen people are crimes against all humankind and have no Statute of Limitations. The principal war criminal, with whose tacit approval or on whose orders the Russian Army and intelligence services have committed atrocious crimes against the Chechen people, is the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. He initiated his crimes with his criminal statement of 24 September 1999 and gross violation of the Treaty of Peace and Principles of Relations between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria of 12 May 1997, which was signed by Presidents Yeltsin and Maskhadov. Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Treaty state:
The High Contracting Parties, desiring to stop centuries of conflict, seeking to establish strong, equal and mutually beneficial relations, agree to:
1. Forever renounce the use or threat of the use of force in resolving all disputatious matters.
2. Build their relations in accordance with the generally recognised principles and norms of international law and cooperate in areas defined by specific agreements.
The cynical violation of the Treaty of Peace of 12 May 1997, and criminal statement of 24 September 1999, clearly indicate that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was preparing a “bridgehead” for war against the Chechen people and knew about the imminent numerous victims of his inhuman plan and rise to unbounded power uncontrolled by civil society. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin tried to justify his bombing without a declaration of war of Grozny, the capital of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, and other peaceful towns and cities by characterising it as “retaliation for an attack by Chechen armed insurgents on Dagestan” and “retribution for the blowing up of apartment blocks in Russia” which, according to media reports, were in fact organized and carried out by the Russian intelligence services.
This criminal war was unleashed by the rulers of Russia against peaceful citizens who were entirely without guilt for the fact that international gangs came to Chechnya, at the request of some of their co-religionists, prepared to fight in pursuit of goals and interests which were clearly not those of the Chechen Government. If the armed conflict had been between them and the Russian Armed Forces, that would at least have been understandable, but ordinary people, living peacefully in their homes and completely uninvolved in campaigns in Dagestan or apartment bombings, should not be punished or murdered for crimes they did not commit. Neither was Aslan Maskhadov, the democratically elected President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, or his Government involved in the events in Dagestan. Maskhadov officially condemned the incursion by volunteers into Dagestan and described it as a provocation targeted against the CRI and the Chechen people.
It is simply not credible that Russia, which claims the status of a superpower, having at its disposal a huge army and the very latest weaponry, was incapable of sealing the border between Dagestan and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and dealing with a small group armed only with firearms and rocket-launchers and which, according to various estimates, numbered between 1,000 and 2,500 fighters. All the more strange is the fact that, after fierce fighting in which the Russian side made use of aircraft and heavy armour, the volunteer detachments were able to return without heavy losses and in safety to Chechnya, to be followed on to Chechen soil by a brutal war which cost huge numbers of lives. The inference is obvious: credible information from many sources indicates that the attack on Dagestan by armed groups and the series of terrorist attacks in Russian cities (Moscow, Buynaksk, and Volgodonsk) on 4-16 September 1999 was organised by the intelligence services of Russia, under the direction of Putin, to provide the pretext for a war of aggression against the CRI.
The view that the Kremlin, and Putin personally, were behind these bloody crimes is held on a massive scale throughout the world. It is a truth which nobody yet officially recognises, but neither is it refuted. Despite such serious suspicions, Putin and other top Russian political and military personnel who have on their hands the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, are received around the world at the highest level and have their hands shaken by people evidently not afraid to soil themselves with the blood of the innocent people they have slaughtered. Here are a few examples taken from the vast number of war crimes committed by political and military personnel of the Russian Federation:
On 7-8 April 1995 a so-called “military cleansing operation” was carried out in the village of Samashki by the Russian Interior Ministry’s Sofrinskaya Brigade, Moscow Province riot police, Orenburg Rapid Response Squad, and with involvement of the Vityaz Special Operations Unit. More than 3,000 soldiers took part in the “operation”, along with artillery, tanks, Hurricane (BM-27) and Hail (BM-21) multiple rocket launchers. During the “cleansing”, war crimes were ostentatiously committed against civilians. People sheltering in their basements had grenades thrown down among them and many were burned alive with flamethrowers. Among the dead were women, children, and the elderly. Seriously injured people were prevented by the soldiers from obtaining medical treatment for several days and many of them died in agony. Nobody was held responsible for these crimes.
In the village of Novye Aldy on 5 February 2000, two Russian military units, the Ryazan Provincial and St Petersburg riot police, conducted a “cleansing” operation. The two units behaved in different ways. The Ryazan police, operating in the southern part of the village, engaged in looting and extortion but did not commit murders; while the St Petersburg police savaged innocent citizens. They killed 56 people, including six women, one of whom was 9 months pregnant, 11 people aged over 60 years, and a one-year-old baby. One of the murdered, 49-year old Sultan Temirov, was beheaded and his body was thrown to the dogs. This indicates that each of these units was set a separate task, and that the war crime was pre-planned. To date, no one has been held responsible. According to intelligence, the number of victims would have been considerably higher but for the courage and resourcefulness of the village doctor, Aset Chadayeva.
On 21 October 1999, the centre of Grozny was subjected to strikes by ground-to-ground tactical missiles with cluster warheads filled with pellets. The greatest number of casualties was at the Central Food and Clothing Market, the National Maternity Hospital, and a mosque. Hundreds of civilians were killed and wounded, among them newborn babies, mothers, worshippers at the mosque, and people who had come to the market to shop. Launching these murderous strikes with bombs banned under international conventions, the Russian soldiers and their leaders who knowingly issued criminal orders committed Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes.
These and hundreds of other atrocities committed by political and military personnel of the Russian Federation against the Chechen people confirm beyond doubt that Putin and those executing his criminal orders are heartless killers for whom there can be no forgiveness. In accordance with the European Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitation to Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes of 25 January 1974, they are fully liable to the penalties they have merited. If laws are passed which permit bloody crimes, or the above bloody crimes, they cannot be considered just laws from the standpoint of international law, logic, or human morality. Any reasonable person must oppose laws which permit the murdering of people with impunity and the committing of other heinous crimes.
Madam Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, in view of the above arguments, I request that you: study the present Communication and, in order to restore historical justice, open a criminal case against the President of the Russian Federation,Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, and the political and military personnel involved in the committing of Aggression, Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and War Crimes against the Chechen people.
President of the Peace and Human Rights International Association
1, rue Mulhouse