The humiliating display of internal rife between the Russian administration and the mercenary Wagner Group depicted the crumbling of Vladimir Putin’s blood-stained walls, and what observers described as,
“…the most dramatic challenge to Mr. Putin’s rule since he was named Russia’s acting president on Dec. 31, 1999.” 
The emergence of the early days of a civil war between two oppressive forces triggers a reminder of their destruction in the Muslim world.
Will these vicious entities finally be held to account for their war crimes and massacres across Libya, Syria, Mali, the Central African Republic (CAR), and more?
On the 24th of June 2023, the Russian state-backed Wagner Group leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, incited an armed rebellion against the Russian administration. Through his orders, control of Russian military facilities in the southwestern city of Rostov-on-Don were seized. Notably, the city is also the logistical hub for its invasion of Ukraine. 
During the standoff, the group accused the Russian military and administration of killing Wagner fighters, as well as lying to the nation about their justifications for invading Ukraine.
President Putin silently struck a peace deal with Prigozhin before his army could take over Moscow and the Kremlin, allowing him and his troops to move to Belarus without facing any charges. 
Over the past nine years, the Wagner Group has aided Russia’s military warfare in foreign countries, most notably exerting its influence across countries in Africa and parts of the Middle East.
After Putin declared that he had “prevented a civil war”, he exposed that the mercenary group had been fully funded by the Russian authorities, with a budget amounting to over a billion dollars. 
These words have the potential to hold Putin, his military, and the Wagner Group, to account for war crimes in the International Criminal Court (ICC), but the question of whether they will face justice or continue to receive impunity remains yet to be seen.
Wagner destruction in Muslim world
Like their Western opponents, the Wagner Group has carried out some of the most horrific and inhumane war crimes across the Muslim world.
Most recently were the disturbing findings that came out from a report conducted by the UN, in which they investigated a 5-day military operation in the Malian town of Moura.
The report revealed that 500 people — the majority civilians — were massacred, and detainees were subjected to severe torture and in many cases rounded up and executed. Dozens of women and girls were subjected to sexual violence and abuse. 
These unjustifiable acts in a conflict area would ordinarily amount to war crimes as well as crimes against humanity, but these groups are yet to be prosecuted in any legal court. 
Human Aid & Advocacy visited Mali earlier this year; we observed the dire human impact of the Wagner invasion.
Nur Choudhury, the Chair of Human Aid & Advocacy, said,
“Very few people are aware of the conditions of internally displaced people, the refugee camps are in some of the poorest conditions we have witnessed in our time, the lack of basic facilities or cleanliness is nothing like we have seen in any of our countries of operation.”
The Wagner Group has been notorious for operating in conflict zones to,
“…fuel violence, loot natural resources, [and] intimidate civilians in violation of international law.” 
In fact, the paramilitary group has occupied other areas in Sub-Saharan and the Sahel regions of Africa. These include Libya, Sudan, and the CAR, while ensuring their long-term presence by building bases of operation that cause turmoil for local citizens.
Ongoing violence in Syria
The Russian military’s operations in support of the authoritarian leader Bashar al-Assad’s suppressive regime began in 2015.
Since then, Russian forces have committed some of the worst war crimes and the complete destruction of the country and its people.
In 2019, Putin acknowledged his deployment of the private military company (PMC) Wagner Group in Syria, and in partnership with state forces, they have carried out massacres targeting civilian sites including schools, hospitals, religious institutions, as well as the killings of medical, media, and defence personnel. 
Impunity for war crimes must end
Wagner, like many other PMCs, has deflected accountability and continues to receive impunity for crimes due to Russia’s veto efforts before international bodies like the ICC. 
The ICC, however, has jurisdiction in countries where Wagner mercenaries have carried out their prosecutable acts, such as in Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR). Therefore, this makes them potentially liable for prosecution. 
Despite the supposed loyalty of Wagner to Putin, the recent internal rife between the group and the government revealed the self-serving and opportunistic nature of both.
A humiliating discord which could have resulted in the complete obliteration of one another should be seen as a lesson to reflect on. It is time to come together to remove violent state-sponsored foreign occupation from countries and to let them govern and live in peace and hold all state, and non-state officials to account for all crimes against humanity.