International Red Cross in a confidential manner determined that Ukraine is in a state of war, Censor.NET reports citing Reuters and Western diplomats and officials. This paves the way for possible prosecution for war crimes including downed Malaysian airlines jetliner. "Obviously, it's an international conflict, and therefore it is most likely a war crime," - Western diplomat in Geneva informed the agency. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) guards the Geneva Conventions implementation defining the rules of war, and in this role has the authority to determine when violence is at the stage of an armed conflict. "Within the UN system that determines the ICRC. They are the supervisors of international humanitarian law," the source at the UN said.
The ICRC has not issued a public statement having no desire to offend Ukraine or Russia, calling the conflict a civil war or a case of international aggression, but the Committee did it in private and informed the parties to the conflict, the sources said. "Both sides were informed of the qualification confidentially, - said the representative of the ICRC Anastasia Isiuk to Reuters on Friday. - We do not discuss it in public." Defining a conflict as a war - no matter international or civil - change the situation on the legal level turning both sides into combatants with equal responsibility for war crimes, which do not expire and are not covered by the amnesty. Suspects can be detained abroad as some countries apply "universal jurisdiction" for war crimes. "It changes their responsibility on the international stage - said Andrew Klafem, Director of the Geneva Academy of International humanitarian law and human rights. - This increases the possibility for individuals to be prosecuted for war crimes."
Dutch law enforcement agencies started investigating the accident of the Malaysian airlines flight MH-17 on suspicion of murder, war crimes and intentional disablement of the aircraft, their spokesman said on Monday. On the basis of the law on international crimes Netherlands can accuse anyone who committed a war crime against the citizens of this country. 193 citizens of the Netherlands were in the plane shot down over the territory of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in May that civil war has started in Ukraine while Kiev sees the conflict as Russian aggression. Censor.NET previously stated that the insurgents captured 4 cars with emblems of the Red Cross in the Donetsk region. The Defense Ministry warned of provocations.