Deportation, famine and everything that russia is doing in Mariupol: war crimes and crimes against humanity
The deportation of civilians during armed conflict is strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law. Such deportation is one of the so-called serious violations of the Geneva Convention. To put it simply, it is a war crime.
Mykola Hnatovsky, First Vice-President of the Ukrainian Association of International Law, explains on Public Radio.
Also read: 20-30 «arrests» per day: what is life like in the recently occupied cities in the Luhansk region?
Deportation during wartime under international law
Russia calls the evacuation of civilians from besieged Mariupol an evacuation. But it is important to remember that it is Russia that, through systematic shelling and blockade of the city, is creating conditions in which people are dying en masse.
International law prohibits such «evacuation.» There are two exceptions — the deportation of the population can only occur if imperative military considerations deem it necessary or if the area in question is subject to intense bombing from a military point of view. The occupying power can then deport the civilian population. But these exceptions also come with a great deal of assurances.
«The population must be relocated to another part of the occupied territory. And not within the territories of the occupying state. We know that Ukrainian men and women are often deported through the temporarily occupied Donetsk. They should stay there and not go on to the Urals or to Siberia,” explains Mykola Hnatovsky.
Importantly, as soon as there is no danger, people must be able to return home.
«And now those taken out of Mariupol are given instructions to stay in Russia for at least 2 years,» the lawyer added.
Nobody has the right to choose documents either. Evidently, this restriction of people violates fundamental rights. Besides this, the exception to the deportation of the population does not apply to Mariupol because the city is not completely under the control of Russia and its troops. That is, in fact, it is not an occupied territory.
«There are fights there. Mariupol is defended by Ukrainian defenders. The territory where active hostilities are taking place is not occupied, but a theater of hostilities. Legally, the Russian troops are not the occupying power there. That is, they do not have the right to any carry-out deportations at all,” Mykola Hnatovsky emphasizes.
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court also recognizes such removals as war crimes.
In addition, the lawyer recommends calling Russian troops invaders, not occupiers.
«After all, occupation is about unconditional and complete military control. For example, Russian occupation forces are now in Donetsk. But in the rest of the territories, I would call them invaders,” he explains.
Hunger and prohibited weapons
Russia’s presence in Mariupol, and in Ukraine in general, violates international law. Using a large-scale and systematic attack on the civilian population.
«The phosphorus bombs and the incendiary weapons used by Russia – all these are war crimes under Hague law. This is a large-scale campaign of war crimes and crimes against humanity on the part of Russia,» Mykola Hnatovsky emphasizes.
The use of famine against civilians as a means of warfare is a textbook violation of international law.
«In essence, this is forcing people to stop defending. This is blackmail of the military through the famine of civilians. Terrorist means of warfare. War crimes and crimes against humanity,» the lawyer explains.
And the punishment?
The procedure for proving war crimes takes years. After all, it is necessary to establish the entire criminal chain: from those who gave the order, to those who set specific tasks and performed them. All of this needs to be tied to evidence. It takes several years to prosecute specific people by last name.
«But the fact that crimes are happening now is obvious to the international community. And there is no need to wait for court verdicts to take urgent measures to stop these war crimes,» Hnatovsky said.
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The Blockade of Mariupol
The Russian occupiers are forcibly «evacuating» the residents of Mariupol to the territory of Russia or to the temporarily occupied territory of ORDLO. The captured Mariupol residents were taken to filtration camps. Some were redirected to remote cities in Russia. The Russians confiscated Ukrainian passports from Mariupol residents and issued papers obliging them to stay in a certain city without the right to leave for two years.
In total, Mariupol is trying to take 14,000 Russian troops – almost 10% of Russia’s invasive force. The city authorities refuse to surrender the city and side with Russia.
Mariupol is under blockade, 80-90% of the city is destroyed. The death toll has exceeded 2,300, but many people are still trapped, so the figure could be much higher. At the time of the blockade, between 350,000 and 400,000 residents remained in Mariupol.
On March 16, Russian occupation forces dropped a heavy bomb on the Mariupol Drama Theater. According to the military, almost a thousand civilians from Mariupol were hiding in the theater.