War in Europe
Gerhart Baum and Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger file criminal charges against Vladimir Putin

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, Bundesministerin a. D. gemeinsam mit Gerhart Baum, Bundesminister a. D., Rechtsanwalt Dr. Nikolaos Gazeas, , bei der Bundespressekonferenz zum Thema Strafanzeige beim Generalbundesanwalt.

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, Bundesministerin a. D. gemeinsam mit Gerhart Baum, Bundesminister a. D., Rechtsanwalt Dr. Nikolaos Gazeas, , bei der Bundespressekonferenz zum Thema Strafanzeige beim Generalbundesanwalt.

© picture alliance / Flashpic | Jens Krick

First Mariupol, now Bucha: The horrific images from Ukraine have shocked the world. We can see dead men, women and children lying on the street, executed by Russian troops. Ex-Federal Minister of the Interior Gerhart Baum and former Federal Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger announced their criminal complaint at the beginning of March. Now due to the developments in the war in Ukraine they reiterated their intention.

The Federal Public Prosecutor in Karlsruhe received the criminal complaint of the two FDP politicians for war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is directed against Russian President Vladimir Putin, his leadership circle and the Russian soldiers in Ukraine. Gerhart Baum and Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger want to initiate concrete investigations and facilitate them where possible. They want to contribute to fighting crime through the law. It is not only about the subsequent criminal investigation of the events, but also about influencing the war. Those involved in the military should realize that they are making themselves punishable by their actions. The aim is to oppose “the law of the strongest” with the strength of the law. The Charter of the United Nations avowed this in 1945 when it solemnly stated: "We the peoples of the United Nations [are] determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war".

However, the criminal complaint should not only hit the top of the state, but above all draw attention to the perpetrators outside the leadership circle. Every soldier who takes part in this war that violates international law must be aware that he can be arrested at any time outside of Russia, not only in Germany, but also in any constitutional state. It is possible to identify perpetrators for an investigation just from the publicly accessible sources. Those responsible for the unspeakable atrocities must be brought to justice lest the crimes go unpunished. The international crimes they commit will never become time-barred. Every Russian soldier who is considering participation in these most serious crimes in the future should know about legal response to his actions. Following orders should not be an excuse for Russian soldiers.

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Helena von Hardenberg, Presse und Digitale Kommunikation
Helena von Hardenberg
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