Pavlo Lodyn, Executive Director of the Center for Political Narratives of Democracy
Опубліковано: 2022-03-14 in International
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken compared the blockade of Mariupol to the blockade of Leningrad, which is engraved in the collective memory of the Russians. This time, similar war crimes are being committed on their behalf. The atrocities against the civilian population, the blockade of Ukrainian cities, and the destruction of social infrastructure by the occupiers compensate for the powerlessness of the “second-largest army in the world,” unable to fight on an equal footing with the Ukrainian armed forces. Ukraine is trying to create humanitarian corridors in difficult negotiations, but often the aggressor not only refuses to do so, but also cynically shoots evacuation columns.
Taking into account the horrors of the Putin regime’s war, a natural question arises whether we are dealing with the genocide of the Ukrainian people by the occupier. After all, these actions are also based on the quasi-ideology of the aggressor. The “special operation” announced by the Kremlin is broadcast to the domestic audience as “denazification” of Ukraine, elimination of those who hinder in the future “reunification of Russian and Ukrainian peoples” (it should be recalled that Putin’s pseudo-historical opus about “unity of peoples” was included in mandatory study topics among Russian servicemen). This narrative is actively supported by Russian propagandists, who, like Radio of the Thousand Hills, an accomplice in the Rwandan genocide, continue to incite war and enmity. The terrorist actions of the Russian army demonstrate that more and more civilians are becoming victims of “denazification”.
Tomasz Lachowski, a Polish expert in international law and a lecturer at the University of Łódź, notes that there are objective factors in classifying the genocide, namely the mass murder, in this case, of the Ukrainian people. Instead, serious difficulties can be expected in proving the psychological component in court – namely, whether there really was a deliberate intention of the Russian military-political leadership to commit genocide. In its lawsuit before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Ukraine is currently asking for an opinion on whether, given the objective factors, we can speak of such a crime against humanity. From the first days of the attack on Kharkiv, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov announced that Ukraine would also seek the establishment of a special military tribunal with international experts, following the example of Nuremberg after World War II. Tomasz Lyakhovsky considers this to be the right idea, it can be created and be independent of the parallel consideration of the case in The Hague.
Unfortunately, it is necessary to state the escalation and the increasing atrocities of the occupying forces against the civilian population. The Russian propaganda of the topic of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Ukraine indicates that the occupier has no limits and frameworks in committing war crimes. And it is also a great responsibility of the West – to prevent Srebrenica or Rwanda in the heart of Europe in the 21st century – otherwise its great civilizational mission can be erased forever in history.
Photo: Russian occupiers hit a maternity hospital in Mariupol.