Russia Guilty of Inciting Genocide in Ukraine, Expert Report Concludes | Ukraine


Russia is guilty of incitement and intent to commit genocide in Ukraine, legally compelling other countries to arrest it, according to a new report by more than 30 internationally renowned jurists and experts.

The reportcompiled by two think tanks, the New Lines Institute in Washington and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights in Montreal, concluded that there are “reasonable grounds to conclude” that Russia is already in violation of two articles of the 1948 Genocide Conventionpublicly inciting genocide and forcibly transferring Ukrainian children to Russia, which the report says is in itself an act of genocide within the meaning of Article II of the convention.

The report concludes that there is “a serious risk of genocide in Ukraine, triggering the legal obligation of all states to prevent genocide” under the convention. States won’t be able to say they weren’t aware of the risk, he warns, but neither the report nor the 1948 convention say what steps foreign governments should take. The report simply notes “a minimum legal obligation for states to take reasonable steps to help prevent genocide and protect vulnerable Ukrainian civilians from the imminent risk of genocide.”

Joe Biden called Russian atrocities in Ukraine a genocide in April, and some other governments have followed suit, although the State Department said it was ultimately for a court to determine. The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, is investigating war crimes and has the power to bring charges of genocide if he believes there is evidence of intent to “destroy, in any or in part”, the Ukrainian people.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in such a report at the start of a conflict,” said Tanya Domi, one of the report’s expert contributors and adjunct professor at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. “I think the documentation of crimes in Ukraine surpasses anything we’ve seen in the recent past.”

The report finds ample evidence of incitement to genocide, noting that Kremlin leaders and Russian state media commentators have consistently denied the existence of a separate Ukrainian identity, “implying that those who identify as Ukrainians threaten the unity of Russia or are Nazis, and therefore deserve to be punished”.

“Denial of the existence of protected groups is a specific indicator of genocide according to the United Nations guide to assess the risk of mass atrocities,” the report said.

He also examined the language used by Russian officials describing Ukrainians as somehow sub-human, with terms like “zombified”, “bestial” or “subordinate”, or as sick or contaminated, using words like “scum” and “dirt”.

“What they’re saying is: if you’re Ukrainian, you’re a Nazi, and so we’re going to kill you,” Domi said. “They say it’s a Nazi regime and that means they’re going after Ukrainians and the Ukrainian state for elimination and destruction.”

By completely denying atrocities and rewarding soldiers suspected of massacres, like Putin did along with the units that were in Bucha at the time of the civilian massacres, the Kremlin is allowing Russian forces to commit more war crimes and conditioning the Russian public to tolerate them, the report said.

Public incitement at the time of the invasion points to a genocidal plan, experts say, as does the pattern of atrocities committed: massacres, shelling of shelters and escape routes, and indiscriminate shelling of residential areas.

In this category, the report mentions the sieges of cities such as Mariupol, the 248 attacks on the Ukrainian health system documented by the World Health Organization, and the destruction or seizure of basic necessities, humanitarian aid and cereals.

A systematic pattern of rape and sexual violence is also part of a general picture of atrocities that point to genocidal intent, experts said, as is the forcible transfer of more than a million people to Russia, including more of 180,000 children. The report cites Ukrainian officials who point to planned reforms in Russian legislation to speed up adoption procedures for children from Donbass, while abducted Ukrainian children have been forced to take Russian lessons.

“I think the forcible transfer of people is just one of the most egregious crimes, because it shows the intent to deport them from their country. There is no capacity of these individuals to resist,” Domi said.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2007 that states parties to the Genocide Convention have an obligation to take preventive measures when they learn or should have known of the existence of a serious risk of genocide.

“Each state will then determine whether it has the means to help deter those suspected of planning genocide and to act if circumstances permit,” said David Scheffer, former U.S. war crimes and now senior fellow at the Council on External Relations, said. “There are many options: supply of military armaments, humanitarian and refugee aid, economic sanctions, diplomatic pressure and even military intervention, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.


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