A group of former servicemen of the Russian military turned to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, asking the authority to consider the actions of pro-Kremlin armed mercenaries in Donbas. Radio Liberty wrote that, quoting Yevgeny Shabayev, head of the All-Russia Officers Assembly and one of the group's members.
'Shabayev told RFE/RL that his group has identified people who would be willing to testify about their experiences if the ICC opens an investigation. According to the veterans' groups' letter to the ICC, 'employees of private military firms are intentionally deprived of their legal status, as a result of which they do not receive the health and economic benefits afforded to veterans by the government and are prosecuted under the law on mercenary activity.' The group contends that the use of mercenaries in this way violates Article 7 of the ICC's Rome Statute, which bans the "enforced disappearance of persons...with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law." They also cite the same article's prohibition on transferring people by force 'from the area in which they are lawfully present, without grounds permitted under international law,' the story reads.
It remains unclear, however, whether the ICC would reply to the appeal of the Russian officers, as Russia is not a member of this Court. 'The ICC has jurisdiction only when a country’s own government is unwilling or unable to prosecute an extremely grave crime, and only over crimes committed on the territory of its member states', the outlet wrote.
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