Ukraine: Russia accused of forced transfer of civilians


Russian forces have committed war crimes and likely crimes against humanity by unlawfully transferring or deporting civilians from occupied parts of in Ukraine to Russia or Russian-controlled territory, according to an Amnesty International report released Nov. 10. Russian and Russian-backed authorities have also forced civilians through an abusive screening process known as “filtration,” during which some were arbitrarily detained, subject to torture or other ill-treatment, and separated from their children.

Upon arrival in Russian-controlled territory, civilians face an uncertain situation. Russia has offered a one-time payment of 10,000 rubles ($165 USD) to each displaced person. However, little support is available to those who do not wish to remain. One young Ukrainian civilian was forced to flee from Mariupol to Russia with her boyfriend elaborated on her situation:

We didn’t want to stay in Russia. But we …didn’t have any money so we couldn’t travel to Europe without help. Finally, via the internet we were able to contact people and get help to leave… The Russian authorities weren’t helpful. In contrast, they were really helpful with my boyfriend’s mother. But she wanted to stay in Russia, so the situation was different.

The report finds that at-risk groups such as the elderly and children were the first to be evacuated, and children were specifically targeted for placement into Russian foster families. Restricted access to communication and diversion of children to facilities across Russia has made locating them for reunification with their families difficult. Amnesty International claims these actions are a clear violation of Geneva Convention Article 49 on the unlawful transfer of civilians.

Russia has routinely denied all war crime charges.

From Jurist, Nov. 10. Used with permission.

Note: Both the International Criminal Court and UN Human Rights Council have opened investigations into possible war crimes in Ukraine.

Map: PCL

  1. UN: Russia must pay war reparations to Ukraine

    The UN General Assembly on Nov. 14 approved a resolution calling for Russia to pay war reparations to Ukraine during an emergency special session devoted to the conflict. The resolution passed with 94 member states voting in favor, 14 voting against, and 73 abstaining.

    Ukrainian ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya presented the resolution, openly criticizing Russia, alleging the country is attempting to avoid any consequences for its actions. He stated:

    Seventy-seven years ago, the Soviet Union demanded and received reparations, calling it a moral right of a country that has suffered war and occupation. Today, Russia, who claims to be the successor of the 20th century’s tyranny, is doing everything it can to avoid paying the price for its own war and occupation, trying to escape accountability for the crimes it is committing.

    In response, Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya blasted the drafted resolution, saying that General Assembly membes “boast about how committed they are to the rule of law, but at the same time, they are flouting its very semblance.” 

    The General Assembly acted in the absence of Security Council action under UN Resolution 377(A)(V), which allows the General Assembly to take action in the event the Security Council is unable to act due to lack of unanimity among its five permanent members. (Jurist)