The OSCE member states must take decisive steps, in particular, to establish a special tribunal for the crimes of Russia’s aggression and to prove their intention to genocide of the Ukrainian people. This was stated by Ms.Olha Skrypnyk, Head of the Crimean Human Rights Group, at the presentation of the report of the “Moscow Mechanism” in Vienna. In addition, Ms.Skrypnyk appealed to the OSCE countries to urgently find a way to save Ukrainians in Mariupol and save the Azovstal.
“Today there is reason to say that the actions of the Russian army feature signs of genocide of Ukrainians. It is important to prove the intent of genocide. In this context, it is important to pay attention to the public speeches of Putin and the Russian leadership, public appeals in the Russian controlled media as well as rewarding the Russian military for their crimes, ” Ms.Olha Skrypnyk said.
According to her information, after the crimes of the Russian military in Bucha, on April 18, the 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade was awarded the honorary “Guard” title. The Crimean Human Rights Group has documented the personal awarding of Russian military with medals after the Bucha crimes. For example, they were awarded Suvorov medals.
‘It is interesting that such medals were first awarded to the Russian military in 1995 for a so-called ‘business trip’ to Chechnya. Putin not only rewards murderers and war criminals, he encourages war crimes, he motivates other military men to commit similarly heinous crimes against the Ukrainians. Therefore, it is of critical significance to study in depth facts of crimes in the further reports of the Moscow Mechanism and other international reports. We understand that the Moscow Mechanism does not qualify and does not investigate the crimes, its purpose is just to record the facts. However, such reports should offer clearer conclusions as well as analyze relationship of the events and describe this, ‘ Ms.Olha Skrypnyk stressed out.
The human rights activist informed about documenting war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Crimean Human Rights Group in the towns and villages of Kyiv Region occupied by the Russian army and liberated in April.
In particular, the CHRG recorded:
- Illegal attacks on civilians – the Russian military has repeatedly attacked, deliberately and indiscriminately, the civilians, killing men, women and children. Cases of deliberate shootings of civilian cars with people inside, including children, were common.
- Attacks on civilian objects – shelling of apartment buildings and private houses that were not protected and were not military facilities. There were civilians inside the houses during such attacks. The hits in these houses were targeted, and intentionally repeated.
- Mass acts of looting and expropriation of civilian property. The Russian military stole personal belongings, household appliances, money, and even children’s toys. It was rather common practice when the property was looted after the occupants of a house or apartment had been murdered. The Russian military stole civilian cars, marked them with the V letter and used them for their own purposes, for instance, to move the stolen property to Russia or Belarus.
- Placing the Russian military equipment (armored personnel carriers, tanks) in residential areas and units was common practice.
“Russia violated all the principles of the Helsinki Act by launching an armed aggression against Ukraine in 2014. Now it has moved on to eliminating the Ukrainian nation and the Ukrainian State. This is not a war between Ukraine and Russia, this is a war between two worlds – the world of values of human rights and democracy and the world of violence and the law of force. The civilized world, OSCE countries must take decisive steps – one of them is the creation of a special tribunal for crimes of Russian aggression. Liability for these crimes is a necessary condition for the protection of human rights and the existence of a system of collective security. Without a tribunal, without conscience of crimes committed there would be no future for Russians themselves,” the CHRG head claimed.
The Moscow Mechanism is a formal procedure within the OSCE (named after the 1991 meeting in Moscow) that allows for deploying a short-term international fact-finding mission to address a specific human rights issue in the OSCE region. The Moscow Mechanism provides for the establishment of an independent mission to investigate information on violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including intentional and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure. This mission report would be legally effective to bring perpetrators to justice in national and international courts or tribunals, namely the International Criminal Court.
The OSCE Moscow Mechanism report covers the initial period of the Russian Federation’s full-scale attack on Ukraine from 24 February to 1 April 2022.