Russia reached a new level of mockery over the international law, when over the past week, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation initiated a criminal case on genocide of the Russian-speaking population of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. What is behind this technology, how should Ukraine respond to such manipulations of the Kremlin, international experts made their comments to Ukrinform.
“It has nothing to do with the law”
Expert of the Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Warsaw Lenur Kerimov is convinced that a statement of the Investigative Committee of Russia has only a propaganda background. “This is the next item that fits the propaganda policy, made ??this time by the Investigative Committee of Russia,” Kerimov said.
He called as incomprehensible participation of Russia in investigating possible crimes in Ukraine in accordance with the UN Convention of 1948 “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” “The Convention provides that if there is evidence of genocide in any country, investigation should be carried out on the territory of this country. Even legally the statement of the Investigative Committee is unlucky, because Russia has nothing to do with Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine,” the Polish expert said.
In addition, according to Kerimov, in terms of the Convention, definition of the “Russian-speaking population” is legally illiterate. “Who are the Russian-speaking population, because the Convention says about specific groups with national, ethnical, racial or religious affiliation? I have not heard that there was some sort of a Russian national group,” Kerimov stressed.
Representative of the Berlin branch of the international human rights organization “Society for Threatened Peoples” Sarah Reinke also supports her counterpart. She said it is unacceptable that Russia, which violated the international law by the annexation of Crimea and continues to ignore international rules, now also used important and clearly defined in international law concept of “genocide” for its own purposes. “Genocide” in eastern Ukraine is out of the question. Russia has no grounds for such allegations. This only proves that Moscow continues to deliberately ignore the international rules and distorts the concepts that are essential for the coexistence of states,” Reinke says.
She said that Russia in this case is the aggressor and is responsible for the situation in the east of Ukraine, as it supplied weapons and militants there, and Kyiv only protects a part of its territory. “Of course, we are talking about the war, when buildings are destroyed, there are dead and refugees, but I do not know any reason that could indicate genocide,” she added. The representative of the international organization called better to pay attention to what is now happening in Crimea. “Russia wanted to defend the Russian-speaking population there, but now we see how the minorities are oppressed there – Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians,” Sarah Reinke emphasized.
French expert on geopolitics, ICN Business School Professor Alexander Melnik emphasizes that statements by Russian investigators are part of the growing spiral of lies, the Kremlin’s plan to destabilize Ukraine before the elections on October 26. “It also suggests that, despite the highly conditional” truce” on the front lines, a flywheel of the Russian propaganda continues to operate at full swing within the frames of the “hybrid war,” using a wide arsenal of methods of pressure and slander,” Melnik said.
“Nothing to do with the generally accepted legal principles,” Partner at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP in Washington Gene Burd shared his assessment of the situation. According to the international lawyer, actions of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation is a “travesty of justice” and show that the Russian investigative authorities are influenced by the policies of the Kremlin leadership. “It’s hard to imagine that a legal action would be held in an impartial international forum on the grounds, presented by the Investigative Committee of Russia,” Burd adds.
In Russian manipulations the international law experts see a wide range of hidden objectives of the Kremlin: from the information influence on the society to development of a legal process outside the Russian Federation.
Professor Alexander Melnik believes that the actions of the Investigative Committee of Russia are the Kremlin’s attempt to seize the initiative from the West for recognition of real terrorists. “In this case it is an attempt to seize the initiative on the legal grounds, using inertia and hesitation of the West to qualify the “DPR” and the “LPR” groups as “terrorist “organizations,” the expert said.
Sarah Reinke suggests that the Kremlin, among other things, can aim at starting criminal cases against certain individuals in Ukraine and restricting their travel abroad. “If respective criminal cases are instituted against specific individuals, they can be on the Interpol wanted list, which, for example, will not allow them to travel freely,” the German human rights activist says.
At the same time, according to U.S. lawyer Gene Burd, the Moscow priority is to spread propaganda inside Russia. “It’s no secret that (in Russia – Ed.) there are many people, who can bring any, even the most incredible, justification to again “punish the Nazis” in Ukraine, and they will be supported by the masses,” he noted.
Ukraine advised to develop strategy
The experts predict that manipulations of the Kremlin will not stop and Ukraine should be prepared for the systemic response.
“Ukraine needs a single clear legal strategy on the protection of rights, national interests and the interests of Ukrainian citizens. Ukraine needs a single center, which would give an opportunity to develop such a legal strategy,” Gene Burd emphasizes.
French expert Alexander Melnik believes that not only Ukraine will have to respond to new ideological provocations from Moscow, which calls into question the whole system of international law, but also other post-Soviet countries. “This (actions of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation – Ed.) is just another illustration of the legal nihilism against the backdrop of the growing expansion of the Kremlin on Ukraine, and in a broader perspective – on the post-Soviet space, under the pretext of extending the “Russian world,” the French professor noted.
Yuriy Banakhevych, Roman Sushchenko, Hanna Snihur-Hrabovska, Yaroslav Dovhopol,