War Crimes in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict – What You Need to Know


Jordan Sekulow

March 3

6 min read

Foreign Policy



The world is trying to figure out how to hold Putin accountable for the unprovoked war crimes Russia has committed in Ukraine. However, when it comes to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the situation is complicated because these two countries are not members of the ICC. Yet, according to ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan, the ICC will launch an investigation into “allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed on any part of the territory of Ukraine by any person.”

We’ve presented oral arguments in cases at the ICC, so we have tremendous insight into how this court works. ACLJ Senior Counsel Andy Ekonomou explained how they don’t have jurisdiction in this matter, even though Russia is clearly committing war crimes:

Getting jurisdiction is a totally different matter. And the office of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has said he is there; he is on the ground, Karin Khan . . . who is the new prosecutor . . . and he is in Ukraine claiming that he has jurisdiction in the pretrial chamber to which the case has been referred. Because he can claim he has jurisdiction, but then in order to get the go-ahead, he's got to go to the pretrial chamber which consists of three judges at the International Criminal Court at the Hague . . . and then they have to give him the authority to proceed further.

While Russia is committing war crimes, the United States is still relying on them for oil. Congressman Chip Roy (TX-21) tweeted out how this is problematic:

If even $1 is appropriated next week for Ukraine & we don’t fully open American oil & gas (ANWR, Pipelines, FERC regs, offshore, federal lands, permitting, & more) it’s a FAIL . . . setting aside fight on COVIDStan mandates, border, & other direct attacks on Americans!

Rep. Roy joined Sekulow to further explain that tweet:

We’ve got a $32 billion package brewing in Washington right now, money to go to . . . Ukraine, but also Ukrainian humanitarian assistance, but also a whole bunch of COVID money . . . so, I am just bringing up and raising the question . . .  if $1 is appropriated . . . and Republicans support it next week, that is going to go towards the Ukrainian situation that we are dealing with right now and we don’t free up American energy, then it’s a fraud. And we need to call them all out on it. It’s a front. They are going to say no no no, the Green New Deal is our solution for energy independence. . . . It will leave America behind, it will empower our enemies, and it will drive up the cost of our energy in this country. . . . The radical Left actually wants to use this war to advance the radical Green New Deal. . . . What they really want is to use this for an overall world order about how to reset the energy landscape, and that means shutting down American energy and being reliant on China and Russia.

Rep. Roy added that he wants to stand with Ukraine, but not get taken advantage of:

I want to be clear, I voted for the resolution yesterday with my colleagues about our contention with Putin about the fact that we stand with the people of Ukraine. I took a trip to Ukraine with my former bosses. . . . I met with these folks, and these are folks who have a hunger for freedom . . . because they have seen the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union. . . . So, I want to be able to stand alongside them. But I am also not going to be a pawn in George Soros and the radical Left’s game of trying to make us bow down to the altar of the Green New Deal and this fake energy, so that they can advance their social welfare state and their agenda of making us reliant on foreign oil, reliant on China for all of the minerals that we need for making solar panels, and reducing our independence. This is a sovereignty question. . . . They want a new world order. That’s what they are trying to do. And we’ve got to stop it.

This is just a part of the radical Left’s agenda. And on that same agenda is silencing free speech when it comes to being pro-life. We’ve been standing for free speech on the life issue for decades. In fact, today marks 35 years to the day since my dad, ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, presented his first oral arguments before the Supreme Court, unanimously winning a landmark free speech case in Jews for Jesus.

ACLJ Senior Counsel Frank Manion joined Sekulow to give an update on our latest case protecting the free speech of those who are protecting the unborn:

We have a unanimous Supreme Court decision in 2014 McCullen v. Coakley that the lower courts and municipalities still haven’t figured out that the Court meant what it said. We represent a woman named Jeryl Turco who has been sidewalk counseling at an abortion clinic in Englewood, New Jersey since 2005. For the first 8 years, things were fairly peaceful. Then in 2013, a new group of pro-life protestors arrived, who had a completely different approach than Jeryl. She prefers the quiet one-on-one communication with people. . . . She thinks that’s more effective. . . . The city was claiming, and the clinic was claiming, that they were doing illegal things, pushing people, blocking doors, screaming into the building, that sort of thing. Well, Englewood’s response was to pass a buffer zone which excludes from the vicinity of the clinic not only those people . . . but also our client and other quiet peaceful sidewalk counselors. Well, the Supreme Court 9-0 . . . said cities you can’t do that. These kinds of buffer zones are disfavored. If you exhaust everything else . . . if none of that works, then maybe you can go to a buffer zone. Englewood did none of that. That has been the testimony for the 7 years we’ve been litigating this case. It finally came out in court last week and we are hoping we get a successful result in the end.

We’ve been able to fight at the Supreme Court in each of the last five decades on pro-life and free speech matters and give you analysis on international issues because of the support of our ACLJ members. We will continue to provide you updates on these critical issues as they come.

Today’s full Sekulow broadcast is complete with even more analysis of Russia's war on Ukraine and an update on an ACLJ pro-life case.

Watch the full broadcast below.

Support the work of the ACLJ, as we continue to bring you expert analysis on the issues that matter most.