The war in Ukraine has now been going on for more than three weeks and the devastation is massive in many of the country’s cities.
We at NRK and a number of experts in various disciplines have answered about 1,300 questions from you about the war in Ukraine since its inception.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions in recent days:
Is Putin guilty?
Many questioned whether work was still being done to indict Putin and others in his inner circle for war crimes.
Camilla Cooper, a researcher at the Norwegian Defense College, responded as follows:
The International Criminal Court continues to collect information and investigate war crimes in Ukraine. In addition, several countries, including Norway, have begun to collect information from refugees who come there.
“The focus is on everyone responsible for war crimes and other violations of international law, not just on Putin, but he has a special responsibility because he’s leading the Russian operation and he’s the one who decided they should attack Ukraine,” Cooper said. .
Knut Einar Skodvin, Professor at UiB Law School answers that in addition to the investigation and evidence-gathering under the auspices of the International Criminal Court (ICC), more is being done:
Work is underway on the question of whether a separate court should be established for the decision to invade itself. The so-called crime of aggression. It cannot be processed by the ICC.
What one achieves next is a more difficult question. Especially because it is better not to have such cases without the presence of the accused. You’re supposed to get them, says Skodvin, and put them on the bench.
Russia is not a member of the International Criminal Court. Prosecutor Sigrid Redsey Johansen says it could make it very difficult to get a head of state from a country that is not a member. Heads of state enjoy immunity from prosecution in other states.
Can Russia be expelled from the UN Security Council?
Russia is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council and has a veto. Many pointed out that this meant that the United Nations could do nothing to stop the war.
Here’s the most common question this week: Why isn’t Russia kicked out by the UN Security Council?
Many responded to it. The short answer is that they cannot be expelled. In order for a country to be expelled from the UN or the Security Council, it must be adopted by the Security Council, and then Russia will have the opportunity to block the decision, since they have a veto.
This may seem illogical, but it was a prerequisite for the great powers to accept the creation of a legally binding international body such as the United Nations.
Compensation for Ukraine?
Many wondered whether Russia would have to pay for what it destroyed in the war, and whether the West could use sanctions and the money frozen through it to force Russia to foot the bill.
Jörn Holm Hansen, political scientist and researcher at Oslo Metropolitan replied as follows:
– As far as I can see, something like that might be possible. Russia has invested large foreign exchange reserves abroad. Admittedly, 350 billion of the $585 billion in total reserves could theoretically be the subject of such a scheme as you define it.
– A UN General Assembly resolution in 2005 can be used as a basis. Holm Hansen says he allows victims of human rights abuses as a result of a deliberate, malicious act to obtain compensation.
Camilla Cooper, Assistant Professor of Operations Law at the Norwegian Defense College, complements:
War compensation is something that a country is ordered to pay, for example by the International Court of Justice in The Hague. When there is such a ruling, the question becomes how the money should be recovered.
Usually, the state will be able to choose the money they use, but if they refuse to pay, it may be interesting to look at the money that has been frozen through sanctions. Then there must be a legally binding determination of the possibility of using the funds, eg from a court, Cooper answers.
Why does NATO not close the airspace over Ukraine?
The desire of the Ukrainians from NATO is to close the airspace so that the Russian planes cannot attack.
Many wondered what would happen if NATO closed the airspace.
The answers from the experts are quite similar and suggest that NATO will then be a player in the war.
– In the event that NATO imposes a no-fly zone, Russia will view NATO as an active participant in the war, answers Tor Ivar Strowmen, naval captain and researcher at the Naval Academy.
– This does not mean that Russia wants to escalate, but it does mean that NATO air bases and forces will be legal and necessary targets from Russia’s point of view. There are targets that Russia can hit with long-range air defenses stationed in Russia. This could cause NATO to rapidly escalate further by attacking targets in Russia. In this case, we quickly get into a downward spiral—and then the road may be shorter than World War III, Strowman writes.
Many questioned whether Ukraine bore false accusations against Russia about the bombing.
Anastasia Steffensen notes that it is constantly claimed by Russia that the targets that were bombed were not bombed from the air, but that the bombs were planted from within to create false claims that Russia was bombing civilian targets.
You wonder: Is it possible to determine if something was hit from the air or damaged by a bomb inside?
Many of our experts have pointed out that in war, including this one, propaganda is used to question people about what is right and what is wrong.
The International Criminal Court has begun investigating and gathering information to uncover war crimes committed in Ukraine. The kind of information you’re talking about will be part of this, both how the buildings were damaged and what happened in the area before the explosion, answers Camilla Cooper.
Is Roger Waters right?
Less common question in the end:
Roger Waters (and many others) believe that the European Union and the United States invest too little in diplomacy and negotiation, Alessandro Marin writes — and asks for our experts’ opinion on the matter.
He is referring to a statement by former musician Pink Floyd that he believes the West should focus more on diplomacy and peace resolution rather than fueling war by supplying arms to Ukraine.
“I don’t agree with Waters,” answers Stein Tonnison, senior researcher at PRIO, Peace Research Division.
First, direct negotiations between Ukraine and Russia have the greatest chance of achieving results. The European Union and the United States exerted strong pressure on Russia through sanctions, UN resolutions and statements. They have little chance of winning over Russia with diplomacy. It would also be wrong for the European Union and the United States to push Ukraine into concessions.
I think the European Union and the United States are right to try to get China to put pressure on Russia to negotiate an agreement. Tonson believes there must be an agreement that Zelensky can live with.
Here you can read more questions and answers:
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