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Canada to refer war in Ukraine to International Criminal Court

Following numerous allegations of international crimes, Canada is referring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the International Criminal Court.

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly pointed to war crimes and crimes against humanity for the decision, announced on Tuesday night.

“We do not take this decision lightly,” said Joly. “We have repeatedly called on Russia to cease its unprovoked and completely unjustifiable attacks on Ukraine and engage in meaningful dialogue. However, as the horrific events in Ukraine unfold before our eyes, it is clear that more must be done.”

The decision came a day after the Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson announced the largely symbolic gesture of banning Russian crude, and the prohibition of Russian aircraft in Canadian airspace last weekend.

The International Criminal Court has a membership of 150 countries. The body is considered a last resort for the most heinous crimes, including genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression.

According to the Kyiv Independent, Russian forces have killed 2,000 Ukrainians in the week since the invasion began. The BBC reports 830,000 Ukrainians have fled the nation for surrounding countries, and the United Nations believes that number could climb into the millions.

According to a federal government website, Canada was one of the first countries to adopt the Rome Statute. The Statute paved the way for the creation of the International Criminal Court.

Some of its highest-profile cases include the prosecution of former Liberian President Charles Taylor in the Sierra Leone Civil War, Bosnian Serb President of the Srpska Republic Radovan Karadzic for crimes during the war in the former Yugoslavia, and former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic was the first sitting head of state charged with war crimes by the court but died in prison before the verdict was delivered.

The court can not prosecute a country, political party, opposition movement or corporation. It can only charge an adult over the age of 18.

The decision by Canada follows a series of economic sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and the ruling elite.

The list of global firms that changed the way they do business because of the invasion continues to grow and includes General Motors and the Ford Motor Company.

Meanwhile, a survey released Wednesday by Maru Public Opinion finds Canadians stand behind Ukrainians and in full opposition to the Russian invasion. Overall, 61 per cent say they would support military action if economic sanctions don’t work. Four out of ten surveyed think Canada is doing too little to support Ukraine, and 63 per cent believe it is possible the conflict could devolve into a third world war. Over six out of ten think Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons was not a bluff.

The survey was taken between February 25 and February 27 among a randomly selected group of 1,519 Canadians who are Maru Voice Canada panelists.
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