War crimes in Ukraine: «Genocide». Over two thousand complaints have already arrived from citizens

Of Marta Serafini

Today the International Court of Justice in The Hague is ruling. A separate investigation was also launched at the International Criminal Court

Genocide. Use this word Denys Monastyrskyi, Interior Minister of Kiev to describe the violations committed by the Russian military against the Ukrainian people. In addition to the attacks on civilians evacuating through humanitarian corridors, Monastyrskyi denounces: The attackers have direct orders to ransack government homes and buildings. In addition, they are stealing money from banks and ATMs in temporarily occupied territories.

The attorney general and the database with the testimonies

Attorney General Iryna Venediktova also returns to the post, reaffirming the creation of a task force. My goal is that all Ukrainians who have lost their loved ones or property receive compensation. For this purpose, a database was created to collect the testimonies. And two thousand complaints have already arrived on the warcrimes.gov.ua portal. Among the crimes indicated: damage to civilian infrastructure; raids on medical or religious personnel, hospitals and churches, seizure of property, pillage, denial of access to medical care. For now, no mention is made of unconventional weapons, such as cluster bombs, prohibited by international conventions, the use of which by the Russians is denounced by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, among others.

Complaints from Kharkiv and Kiev

At work, in the rear of Lviv, there are also the lawyers of Opora, an NGO created at the time of Piazza Maidan, which operates thanks to US support. Until two weeks ago we worked to monitor the elections, now we serve on this front. Olga Kotsiuruba, 42, criminal lawyer specializing in human rights. Together with her, three other colleagues. She opens the laptop. These are the complaints we have collected: mostly they come from Kharkiv and Kiev, she says. She scrolls through the database. Twenty questionnaires, completed online. Everyone is guaranteed the protection of privacy. Then in the form you are asked to briefly describe the facts, geo-locate the position in which they occurred and, if possible, attach photos, videos and indicate the witnesses. Anyone who wants can also leave a telephone contact. The complaints must then be verified and controlled with the help of satellite images and subsequently collected in order to be included in reports before the courts. Among those that arrived: houses damaged by the raids. But also online threats. It is not uncommon for the civilian population to receive intimidation through social media. Then there are those who report messages in which information is requested on the exact location under the pretext of knowing how the situation is. Some were seized their phones by the Russian military and ordered to delete images of bombed sites.

The appeal to The Hague

Initial steps. To try to establish the truth. We know very well how long the process leading to an international court is. But let’s try to make our contribution, explains Olga. Then the phone starts ringing. And a friend in Kyv, as the capital is called here: he’s looking for a way out. I too lived there until two weeks ago. I’m afraid something will happen to him.
Meanwhile, this afternoon, in The Hague, awaiting the ruling of the International Court of Justice on the appeal filed by Ukraine against Russia, immediately after the invasion of Moscow, on 24 February. He accuses Russia of using, as a pretext for the attack, the denunciation of acts of genocide in the areas controlled by the Donbass separatists. A separate investigation was also launched by the International Criminal Court, whose jurisdiction is not recognized by either Kiev or Moscow. While the list of countries that have opened investigations within them is lengthening. Most important of all? Poland, because most of the refugees are already there and only from a safe place that witnesses can tell without risking their lives again.

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