The top human rights official at the United Nations made a sweeping declaration late yesterday--the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 could potentially be a war crime.
"This violation of international law, given the prevailing circumstances, may amount to a war crime," Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said of the downing of MH17.All indications are that the plane was brought down by a Russian-made missile fired by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. While Pillay didn't ascribe blame, the circumstantial evidence points strongly at the rebels. After all, if they're innocent, why were they blocking access to the crash site?
"Every effort will be made to ensure that anyone committing serious violations of international law including war crimes will be brought to justice, no matter who they are," Ms Pillay said.
If I'm a rebel and I'm hearing this, I'm afraid. Very afraid. It was already beyond dispute that this was a criminal act, but if the UN's top human rights watchdog already considers this a war crime, the noose around the rebels just became a lot tighter.