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International News: Human Rights defenders document Russian war crimes in Ukraine

Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2023. 10:33 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Human Rights Defender, Oleksandra Matviichuk of the Center for Civil Liberties says that human rights organizations in Ukraine continue to document war crimes by Russia.

February 24th marks 1 year since Russian’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine and Oleksandra noted during a “Views from Ukraine Panel” that organizations have been documenting war crimes for 9 years.

“Russia uses war crimes and methods of fear in an attempt to break people’s resistance,” Oleksandra noted.

Several organizations have reportedly documented over 31,000 episodes of war crimes with Russian troops deliberately attacking residential buildings, rape and torture among other crimes.

Last week, U.S. Vice President, Kamala Harris said that Russia’s actions in Ukraine are crimes against humanity.

 “In the case of Russia’s actions in Ukraine we have examined the evidence, we know the legal standards, and there is no doubt: these are crimes against humanity,” Harris stated.

“And I say to all those who have perpetrated these crimes, and to their superiors who are complicit in those crimes – you will be held to account,” Harris added.

Oleksandra noted that the U.S. Vice President’s statement is flavorful and it is crucial that there is a legal process in an international criminal court for the perpetrators to be held accountable for these crimes.

With regards to documenting these crimes, Oleksandra says that organizations have united forces and mobilized and interviewed witnesses, gathered testimonies from those who have suffered.

“We must break the circle of impunity- for those who have suffered war crimes and for nations who can be potential new targets,” Oleksandra reiterated.


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