Editorial of the “World”. Sometimes in wars there is a bloodier battle than the others, a crueler or more massive massacre than the previous ones which shocks public opinion. It happens that this event, by the symbolic weight of its horror, constitutes a turning point in the conflict. The discovery, Sunday April 3, of hundreds of corpses of Ukrainian civilians after the departure of the Russian army from villages around kyiv, including that of Boutcha, should be one of them.
For almost forty days, images of civilians holed up in basements, of bombed hospitals and of soldiers killed in action have been part of the daily media life of Europeans, virtual witnesses of the war that Russia is waging against Ukraine, on their own continent. . Those that appeared on their screens on Sunday took this war to a new level, that of barbarism: images of civilians executed with a bullet in the back of the neck, sometimes with their hands tied behind their backs, or shot dead on their bicycles, images of charred bodies after being riddled with bullets, images of mass graves overflowing with corpses. Images of carnage and devastation.
These are images of war crimes. Moscow, as one might expect, denied any responsibility of its troops in these abuses and claimed that it was a ” provocation “ orchestrated by the Ukrainian authorities for the Western media. The Kremlin’s bad faith in this conflict and its consummate art of lying leave little room for the credibility of this denial, contradicted by the testimonies collected by journalists on the spot and by the organization Human Rights Watch.
Outrage is not enough
Many Western leaders, including President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, expressed outrage on Sunday – with the exception of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who, widely re-elected for a fourth term, nominated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as one of those who had tried to stand in the way of his victory. But indignation is no longer enough.
Since the beginning of the war, on February 24, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Iryna Venediktova, has been working with her services to collect evidence with a view to the constitution of complaints for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the Briton Karim Khan, has opened an investigation in this direction and has already visited Ukraine.
It is crucial that the European States, in particular, give this work of investigation and collection of evidence increased resources, particularly in terms of personnel, so that those who take the decisions in Moscow and carry out the orders know what they are up to. expose. International justice must be rendered within realistic timeframes, without the culprits being able to enjoy peaceful days. If arrest warrants can be issued, they must be issued without delay, including at the highest level.
On another level, the European Union will examine this week, in reaction to the macabre discoveries of Sunday, a fifth part of sanctions. They will probably relate to imports of coal and oil. Will we have to wait for the discovery of new mass graves in Mariupol to move on to those of gas?
The Boutcha massacre imposes a turning point on the Europeans: abandon this pitiful gradation of the response and counter the murderous offensive of Vladimir Putin by a real counter-offensive of solidarity with kyiv.