By Paul Goble
As so often in the past, Lithuania has openly declared what many believe but are unwilling for one reason or another to say. The Lithuanian parliament in a unanimous vote declared Russia to be a terrorist state and its war in Ukraine an act of genocide against the population there, actions for which Russian leaders, including Putin, must stand trial.
The Sejmas said that those responsible must be brought to justice and that, to ensure this happens in a timely and effective manner, the international community must create a special international criminal court to investigate and try them (delfi.lt/ru/news/politics/sejm-litvy-priznal-rossiyu-terroristicheskim-gosudarstvom.d?id=90178683).
Specifically, the parliament said, that tribunal “must have the authority to issue international arrest warrants” and that the traditional immunity from prosecution that chiefs of state and heads of government have enjoyed must not be extended in this case, thus signaling the Lithuanians’ belief that Vladimir Putin must be arrested and tried.
And it specifically declared that “the Russian Federation and its armed forces have consciously and systematically selected civilian objects for bombing” and that as such the Russian government is one that “supports and carries out terrorism,” crimes of war and crimes against humanity that must be punished.
Not surprisingly, Moscow reacted quickly and in a most hostile manner, with the Russian foreign minister spokesperson declaring that what Lithuania had done was “extremist” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=627B5D266E29F). The Russian government is clearly worried that now that Lithuania has broken the ice, other countries will follow its compelling logic.