Practice Relating to Rule 151. Individual Responsibility
Section A. Individual criminal responsibility
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states: “In accordance with international humanitarian law and the penal legislation of the Russian Federation, perpetrators of international humanitarian law breaches can be held criminally responsible.”
The Russian Federation’s Decree on the Punishment of War Criminals (1965) states:
The peoples of the Soviet Union that suffered losses during the war cannot let fascist barbarians go unpunished. The Soviet State has always proceeded from the universally recognized rules of international law that provide for the inevitable prosecution of Nazi criminals, no matter where and for how long they have been hiding from justice.
It also provides: “Nazi criminals, guilty of most serious crimes against peace and humanity and war crimes, are subject to prosecution and punishment.”
The Russian Federation’s Criminal Code (1996) provides: “Persons who have committed crimes shall … be held criminally responsible.”
In a chapter entitled “Crimes against the peace and security of mankind” and under a provision entitled “Use of banned means and methods of warfare”, the Code provides for the punishment of “cruel treatment of prisoners of war, deportation of the civilian population, plunder of the national property in the occupied territory and use in a military conflict of means and methods of warfare banned by [international treaties to which the Russian Federation is a party]”.
The Code further provides for the punishment of offences such as genocide, ecocide, use of, and participation by, mercenaries in an armed conflict or hostilities and assaults on persons or institutions enjoying international protection.
In 2011, in a statement before the UN Security Council during a meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of the Russian Federation stated: “All parties to an armed conflict … must … bear the … obligations under international humanitarian law. Those guilty of violations, State and non-State actors alike[,] must not evade responsibility for crimes committed.”