Understanding Russia's Actions in Ukraine as the Crime of Genocide

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Azarov, Denys
Koval, Dmytro
Nuridzhanian, Gaiane
Venher, Volodymyr
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The new wave of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine that began on 24 February 2022, and the intensification of the armed conflict accompanied by grave breaches of international humanitarian law, has received significant scholarly attention. Many academic interventions have examined the developments in Ukraine through the frameworks of jus ad bellum and jus in bello. Some, however, have applied a genocide lens to make sense of reported numerous and widespread violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. This article contributes to the latter stream of scholarship by contextualizing the arguments for the existence of genocidal intent behind the seemingly unrelated crimes committed by the armed forces of the Russian Federation all over Ukraine. The authors pay particular attention to the language and pseudo-historical references used by Russia’s leaders as a justification for the invasion of Ukraine and argue that these statements and expressions indicate the existence of genocidal intent. This article also reflects on the issue of the systematic destruction of cultural heritage of Ukraine as further evidence of the intent to destroy the Ukrainian nation understood as a protected national group under the Genocide Convention, at least in part. Finally, the authors analyse the genocidal acts that have apparently been committed, including killings; the causing of serious bodily or mental harm; the forcible transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia, and the deliberate infliction of conditions of life aimed at the physical destruction of the Ukrainian nation. It is stressed that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the destruction of the Ukrainian nation by Russia has been pursued through commission of these prohibited acts. Their nature and large-scale character serve as further evidence of genocidal intent to destroy the Ukrainian nation.
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, international humanitarian law, genocide, pseudo-historical references, destruction of cultural heritage of Ukraine, destruction of the Ukrainian nation, article
Understanding Russia's Actions in Ukraine as the Crime of Genocide / Denys Azarov, Dmytro Koval, Gaiane Nuridzhanian, Volodymyr Venher // Journal of International Criminal Justice. - 2023. - Article Number: mqad018. - https://doi.org/10.1093/jicj/mqad018