Human rights defenders described Russian war crimes

“My family was awakened on February 24 by rocket explosions. We live near kyiv Zhulyany airport. The next day fighting started at home, as the Russians tried to cross from the north via Hostomel. J ‘had to take my son and leave,” said Olha Skrypnyková of the Crimean Center for Human Rights, which originally dealt with the situation in occupied Crimea.

“We are now monitoring what is happening in kyiv, bombing residential houses, shops and other civilian objects,” Skrypnyková admitted.

“People are dying not only from shelling, but also from lack of water and hunger,” she said, adding that the Russians were looting and stealing food. The water pipes are then destroyed by a fire.

Ukrainian activist Olha Skrypnykova

Photo: Petr Hloušek, Právo

She also mentioned the widespread violence against women. “We have documented gang rapes of women, their rape in front of children or after their husband or relative has been killed,” she added.

She also mentioned the kidnapping and liquidation of local politicians. “The cadets killed the mayor of Hostomel. He was murdered while distributing humanitarian aid. They then put explosives on his body, so that he could not be taken away,” Skrypnyková described .

child victims

“Children are also victims,” ​​said Marija Suljalin of the Almenda Civic Education Center.

“140 children died and 226 others were injured, eleven children die or are injured every day.” Unfortunately, the number is not final. “We don’t know how many people, including children, died in Irpini,” she added, adding that the town was still searched for rubble.

She also recalled the first child victims of the conflict. “A seven-year-old girl died in the shelling of Ochtyrka on February 25. A day later, the Ochmatdyt hospital in kyiv was bombed, killing two young children.”

Efforts to leave the bombed city also ended tragically at times. “Russia is bombing the escape routes,” Suljalin said, adding that six people had died on March 5 while trying to evacuate from Chernihiv when the car came under fire.

“The 17-year-old crawled and saw his mother burning in the car,” admitted Suljalin.

It is said that the case is not unique. “A family tried to leave Kharkov on March 22. The car was marked as civilian, it had a white flag. They shot at them. Parents and daughter died in the car, only a 17-year-old son survived He was orphaned,” she added.

She mentioned that the targets of the bombings are often schools and medical institutions. Of the 15,000 schools, 790 were affected and 75 were completely destroyed. In Mariupol and Volnovaš, 90% of schools were destroyed.

Crimean men had to enlist

Skrypnykova continues to monitor the situation in Crimea. “It turned into a big Russian base, launching missiles into Ukraine and sending troops there,” she said.

She also pointed out that part of the population of Crimea was called up and had to join the war.

“There is a small group of servicemen who signed the contract. They are around 3,000. If they did not join the army, they could be sentenced to a sentence of up to two years in prison. are fighting near Kherson, in the Zaporozhye region and in Berdychev,” Skrypnyková said.

“There is no connection with the mobilized, but those who were captured said they were told they were only going to train or participate in a three-day special operation in Kherson,” he said. -she adds.

She also noted that Ukrainian people are taken to Russia or Crimea, where they will seize Ukrainian documents and issue Russian documents.

How to punish Russia

She called for the creation of a special tribunal before which the crimes committed during the Russian aggression would be judged, as this is the only way to bring those responsible to justice.

This is also requested by lawyer Kateryna Raševská from the Regional Center for Human Rights, established in 2013 in Sevastopol. “We cannot exclude Russia from the UN, even if it is waging a war of aggression, which is prohibited by the UN Charter,” Rashevskaya said.

She called for the return of observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission, who have adequate equipment, helmets, anti-fragmentation vests and armored cars that activists have not.

It was OSCE members who briefed Ukrainian activists on Wednesday in Vienna.

Rashevska also admitted mistakes on the Ukrainian side, which has still not signed the Rome Convention, and therefore has not joined the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“We are still investigating rape as rape, not as a war crime. Although parliament has already passed the war crimes law, the president has yet to sign it. We call on him to do so and join the ICC,” Raševská points out.

She pointed out that some crimes could no longer be prosecuted, including the crime of aggression against another state.

It was obvious that the events of the past month had shaken her.

“I sat at the kyiv station for three days because I couldn’t get on the train. I didn’t make it until they wrote a sign on my hand. It felt like to be in World War II. The road just moved us to safety, not to the concentration camp,” Raševská added.

According to her, the train journey was frightening.

“There was nowhere to sit and you couldn’t even go to the toilet. You’d have to go get the bodies. People here can dream of a new skirt, a dress, or a vacation. studying abroad, but we dreamed that a siren warning of a raid would sound at night only once at night,” Raševská saddled.

“This may be our last press conference, because there is no safe place in front of the Russian missiles,” added the lawyer.

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