Ukrainian University: Russia is carrying out a genocide


Eastern Europe


Graves are seen in front of a residential building in Bucha city. Photo EPA, Oleg Petrasyuk

Horrible pictures of killed civilians lying in the streets appeared all over the Internet over the past few days. Russia is carrying out a genocide under more in Bucha and Irpen, the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) states.

According to the Ukrainian Catholic University, the actions and war crimes of the Russians fit within a broader trend of Russia's policies in Ukraine. "Now, it is the time to raise the question of genocide to assess what is happening in Ukraine", the University writes on its website.

Andriy Kostyuk, lawyer and UCU professor of Law, says that the psychology of the "crimes" of the Russian military is deeply rooted in Russian society, which is based on Gulag customs. Kostyuk describes this mindset as a "deeply slavish tyrannical psychology": "You are a tyred, slave or both at the same time. You are a slave to the one who stands above you and a tyrant to others whom you consider to be inferior."

The law expert notices these patterns in the Russian actions in Ukraine. "This happened to the civilians from the liberated Kyiv regions; when they fell in the hands of the Russians, they were killed and raped. Russia's desire for self-assertion through cruelty, the destruction of everything, including someone's life, is a trauma to society that will not be healed until something like collective repentance or true denazification of the country takes place."

“If acts are crimes against humanity, they fall under universal jurisdiction”

According to Svitlana Khilyuk, Head of the Department of Legal Theory and Human Rights at the UCU, killing, abducting, torturing and raping civilians in an international armed conflict is deemed criminal under international and national law. Therefore, these acts can be considered war crimes or crimes against humanity, she argues. These acts would, therefore, fall under universal jurisdiction. That means that perpetrators can be prosecuted in other countries as well.

Given the scale of the criminal acts against civilians, it is, however, unlikely that all Russian perpetrators will be punished for their actions in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Khilyuk expects. "The main burden of prosecuting the perpetrators will fall on national courts."



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