Genocide or war crimes against civilians in Ukraine?

Are we in the presence of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity, with reports of horrific images from the Ukrainian city of Butcha showing the corpses of civilians on the streets or in front of their homes and looking like executions? Since all kinds of complaints are coming, Duty To explain to readers the difference between these two works, an expert is interviewed, which is the most serious commitment against mankind.

Arriving in Butcha, near Kiev, on Monday, the Ukrainian president accused Russia of genocide. Is population the target of this crime?

Evidence does not prove this, at least not for the moment, Judge Muriel Paradel, a professor of law at the University of Ottawa, is an expert on extreme and mass violence. Genocide – described as a “crime of crime” – when there is a “desire or intention to exterminate a group” targeted because of ethnic, national, racial or religious identity, he explained. -He. A relatively recent event in history is the commitment in Rwanda against the Tutsis, who were assassinated in 1994 for being part of this ethnic group. In the case of genocide, the surrender of the attacking group does not necessarily end the genocide, the professor explains, because the assailant wants to eliminate each of its members. At the moment, he does not see any element of Vladimir Putin wanting to kill all Ukrainians. And if so, will he wipe out the Russian-speaking and pro-Russian peoples in the east of the country, including the Ukrainians? Ask the expert.

According to him, the term “genocide” has been “instrumentalized” because, when it is mentioned, it evokes “rebellion and sympathy.” It immediately brings to mind all the atrocities committed against Jews in Europe during World War II and the horrors of the concentration camps, he said. If the Russian president uttered the word to justify his attack on Ukraine, then Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky probably used it to force the international community to act.

Are these then war crimes, as Volodymyr Zelensky claims?

If what we see in the raw images of dead civilians on Boucha Street proves to be the work of the Russians, they will in fact be war crimes, a violation of international humanitarian law, the law professor replied.

Such crimes may be committed against civilians or soldiers, for example, when the latter lay down their arms – in which case they are no longer combatants – but are still killed or tortured. A war crime is also committed when a war criminal uses it against an opposition group or uses military weapons, such as chemical weapons or a bunch of ammunition, prohibited by international conventions.

He said deliberately attacking civilians was a war crime. We are not talking here about “collateral damage” or “blunders” that occur when an army strikes a target, such as an ammunition depot, and an explosion kills civilians living nearby.

On Monday, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie condemned the “crimes against humanity” committed in Boucha for her part. Can we say that such a crime has taken place?

Such crimes can only be committed against civilians – not against fighters. This is proven when “general or systematic attacks against civilians” appear, Professor Paradel reports. So we’re talking about large-scale, even recurring crime. The discovery of two or three dead civilians on the streets of a city cannot testify to the crimes against humanity: “there must be a massive attack” or has occurred on numerous occasions. In Baucha, as of Monday, a temporary toll of Ukrainian authorities has reported at least 410 civilians killed.

Seeking the influence of the attacker with these activities? Intimidating civilians, for example, by bombing residential areas where the aggressors know full well that there is no military target. He may try to force the population to flee, and may persuade the victim’s leader to negotiate.

To establish this crime, it must also show that the attacks are part of a “plan to attack civilians,” in short, a state policy, experts say. However, there is no need to get an official and detailed plan in writing, it can be inferred from a bundle lying on the ground. However, for this reason, it is much more difficult to prove this crime than war crimes, said M.Me For parades and crimes against humanity, obeying orders is not a legitimate defense, he said.

Who can be brought to justice for these three crimes?

It is not the state, but the person who may be charged in court. Soldiers activating missile launchers can be as much about military operations as they are about directing them. One of the objectives of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is to target the most senior officials, such as political leaders and senior military officials.

So, Russian President Vladimir Putin can be brought to book, but not Russia. The United Nations and 40 other countries, including Canada, have called for an ICC inquiry into war crimes committed in Ukraine long before the Bauchai incident. The ICC, headquartered in The Hague in the Netherlands, has been investigating Ukrainian soil since early March, and prosecutor Karim Khan has already deployed a team of investigators to gather evidence to show “these international crimes”.

The ICC convicted him year after year

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