Death, Orders, and a War Crimes Trial in Ukraine

BBC News photo: Camp Radiant, near Bucha, Ukraine. A children's recreation camp which was (allegedly) repurposed as a slaughterhouse by Russian troops. (2022)
(From BBC News, used w/o permission.)

I hadn’t planned on doing another “Ukraine” post for quite a while.

But this news item caught my attention:

Russian soldier pleads guilty in first war crimes trial of Ukraine conflict
Sarah Rainsford, BBC News (May 18, 2022)

“…Vadim Shishimarin admitted shooting a 62-year-old man a few days after the invasion began. He faces life in jail….”

I gather that Mr. Shishimarin had been commanding a tank division’s unit when his convoy was attacked.

Then he and four other soldiers stole a car. As they were traveling near Chupakhivka, they met a 62-year-old may who was riding a bicycle.

Mr. Shishimarin was ordered to kill the man, so he did.

I don’t know why Mr. Shishimarin pleaded guilty. And I don’t know if he tried using the “I was only following orders” defense. If he did, then maybe that’s why he’s looking at life in jail, not an execution.

“Just following orders,” AKA superior orders or the Nuremberg defense, didn’t start with the Nuremberg trials and will probably still be debated long after I’m gone. Command responsibility is the flip side of superior orders, and I’m getting a bit off-topic.

Horrible as what Russia’s military is (allegedly) doing in Ukraine, it’s not all bad news.

(“Allegedly?” I talked about “purported,” “alleged” and “allegedly” back in April. I’m putting links to other “Ukraine” posts below.)

Ukraine’s government is following established legal procedures, including procedures which involve international law. And they’re both gathering and preserving evidence. Some of that evidence is from information technology that didn’t exist during and after World War II.

And we’ve learned — a lot — since President Lincoln signed General Orders No. 100, the Lieber Code.1 To what degree we’ve woven that knowledge into wisdom — is another topic.

I’ve talked about the mess in Ukraine before:

1 Rules and principles:

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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2 Responses to Death, Orders, and a War Crimes Trial in Ukraine

  1. irishbrigid says:

    Extra punctuation: “and “allegedly?” back in April.”

    Your Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Thanks for taking time to comment!