Former Russian army intelligence officer Igor Salikov arrived within the Netherlands this week to testify as a witness on the Worldwide Prison Court docket (ICC) relating to Russian conflict crimes. Salikov is a former intelligence officer who took half in operations performed by the Russian Fundamental Directorate of the Basic Employees of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU) in Jap Ukraine between 2014 and 2015. In 2017, he served as a senior teacher for the non-public army firm Wagner in Syria. In 2022, he was on of the commanders within the non-public army firm Redut in the course of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier than his arrival, Salikov penned a confession addressed to ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and ICC president Peter Hofmanski. He anticipated to be referred to as in by the ICC as a witness for a while, however on account of elevated dangers to his household and doable retaliation, he selected to independently journey to the Hague within the Netherlands and search political asylum. Nevertheless, Salikov did to not search immunity from felony prosecution by the ICC.
Salikov admitted to witnessing crimes towards civilians and revealed that Russian troopers have been misled once they have been offered a story of nationalist revival in Ukraine to justify the invasion. Salikov additionally admitted to witnessing youngster abductions in Ukraine. This aligns with the ICC’s ongoing investigations.
Because the battle started, Ukrainian officers, the UN, and the ICC have reported violations of the Geneva Conventions. In March, the ICC issued an arrest warrant towards Vladimir Putin and Russian youngsters’s ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova in regards to the compelled deportation of Ukrainian youngsters to Russia.
The ICC initiated an investigation into alleged crimes dedicated in Ukraine in 2013. Though Ukraine just isn’t a state social gathering to the Rome Statute, a world treaty permitting ICC jurisdiction over worldwide crimes like genocide, crimes towards humanity, conflict crimes, and crimes of aggression, Ukraine accepted ICC jurisdiction over alleged crimes by Russia. Putin doesn’t take pleasure in immunity as a head of state earlier than the ICC, however presently, the ICC lacks direct proof linking Putin to particular conflict crimes. The ICC has been most profitable in its investigation into youngster abductions, resulting in the issuance of an arrest warrant for Putin.
Salikov’s testimony, if accepted by ICC, is pivotal on this situation as a result of it comes from an insider who participated in these occasions. His proof might present essential particulars in regards to the chain of command, who issued what orders, filling the gaps within the ICC’s investigation into Putin.