” There is a grave and imminent danger of genocide in Ukraine Says a report prepared by more than 30 prominent jurists and international experts. This is the first independent report on the topic. It also reveals that Moscow is already violating the Genocide Convention. Emily Brie of the New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy, and one of the authors of this report, spoke to RFI.
RFI: What facts led to this report’s conclusions about “ Imminent danger of genocide » ?
Emily Brie: Russia has committed two violations of the Genocide Convention. The first is incitement to genocide. Essentially, this means that Russia, from the highest levels of the Kremlin to the lowest, is waging a propaganda campaign of incitement to genocide, portraying Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as an existential threat to Russia.
This enables and conditions the Russian people to accept, tolerate, and even encourage the atrocities that occur because they view them as defensive measures.
The second crime is the intention to destroy the Ukrainian group, and Russia is already taking several measures in this direction. They resorted to sexual violence and rape. They are destroying cultural heritage sites. They forcibly moved more than 100,000 Ukrainian children away from their families out of Ukraine to Russia. There are deliberate attacks on humanitarian shelters and corridors. All this indicates that there is an intent behind Russia’s actions in Ukraine to destroy the Ukrainian national group.
These two points give us reasonable grounds to conclude that there is an ongoing genocide. However, we can conclude, without any doubt, that there is a grave danger of genocide.
And I want to make it clear that this in no way reduces the crimes that are occurring and are being committed by the Russian forces at the present time, because the grave danger of genocide is always a violation of the Genocide Convention and always leads to the duty to prevent other signatory states under international law.
In Russian propaganda there is the idea that the Ukrainian people and the Russian people are one. It is therefore very difficult to imagine an ongoing genocide against a brotherly people.
In fact, the types of genocide are divided into five axes. There is only one and it is a killer and it is related to mass murder. The other four are not fatal. It is possible to destroy a group in whole or in part, for example by preventing reproduction or by separating children from their families.
Thus, in Ukraine, we are witnessing both deadly and non-fatal acts of genocide.
The issue of sexual violence was mentioned in particular when discovering the atrocities committed in Bute. Were you able to prove that it was an organized practice?
Yes, there is a pattern of sexual violence that stems from incitement to genocide. There are reports of soldiers explicitly threatening.” To rape all Nazi whores “.The kind of propaganda that comes from Russia allows the Russian forces to consider the Ukrainians they encounter as less than human. So they commit these heinous crimes.
But sexual crimes are often underreported or not at all. So we will never know the total number of victims of sexual violence in this war.
But in our report, there’s a section we’ve devoted to sexual violence and rape, and it shows how rape can be evidence of genocidal intent. So, for example, last month the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Lyudmila Denisova, reported that Russian soldiers held a group of Ukrainian women and girls in a basement for 25 days and repeatedly raped them, saying: We will rape you so that you do not want to have sexual intercourse with another man to prevent you from having Ukrainian children. This is a very clear example.
Every day that world leaders slow to take stronger action against Russia and Putin is another day for Russian forces to have the opportunity to commit the most unspeakable crimes against the Ukrainian people.
What actions should the signatory countries take? Does acting mean going to war?
It is really important to remember that the Genocide Convention is about prevention, not just punishment, which people often forget, and we are in a unique situation where we see potential genocide unfold before our very eyes.
The evidence is there and states have the ability to stop it and thus prevent it. They should do everything they can to protect vulnerable Ukrainians, which could mean opening more humanitarian corridors, opening their borders, taking in more refugees and helping put preventive measures on the ground.
As for the sanctions, they could go through more targeted sanctions, suspend all trade with Russia, suspend gas and oil purchases, and terminate all relations with Russia. Countries can do many things without going to war, and the Genocide Convention in no way calls on states to go to war. There are many options, and we hope this report will provide the evidence needed for states to use their options.
Your organization has worked on other genocides like that of the Uyghurs in China. What makes you think that countries will do more for Ukraine than they did for the Uyghurs?
In fact, countries around the world have made a lot of effort in favor of the Uyghurs but as you know, we are not at war with China, so the newspapers talk about it less. Several countries used our report as evidence to determine that genocide was occurring in China, which is the first step for action. The United States, in particular, imposed targeted sanctions on senior Communist Party officials. The Forced Labor Act now prohibits the import of slave-made products into the United States. We also work through diplomatic channels.
Of course, this is not enough. In the special case of China and the Uyghurs, money and power are key. China has paralyzed the United Nations by buying the silence of many countries and intimidating and threatening others.
But when it comes to Russia, we’ve really seen the international community come together in a very nice way to support Ukraine. Some countries support Russia but the vast majority of it is behind Ukraine.
Moreover, we watch the war unfold in real time on social networks and in the media. We can see everything that happens. This is no secret. No matter how powerful Russia is, it is nothing compared to what we can clearly see Russian forces doing in Ukraine.
Once again, I really hope that this report will be used as evidence by states in carrying out their duty under international law to prevent and punish genocide.
listen too : The War in Ukraine: In Bucha, Investigations Documenting Possible War Crimes