The Outer

Kiev: Crimes against Ukrainian civilians will not go unpunished

By Manal Abdel Fattah

Two years ago, after the liberation of the occupied northern regions of Ukraine, the consequences of the terrible crimes committed by Russian forces against the civilian population became clear to the whole world. However, Russian forces continue to commit crimes in all other occupied territories.

Among her disgusting crimes committed is sexual violence. The enemy uses conflict-related sexual violence as a weapon to demoralize civilians in occupied areas and suppress their will, in order to increase fear and control over them and inflict long-term physical and psychological injury. A report by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office says that as of April 2024 there had been 287 cases of conflict-related sexual violence, including rape, mutilation, violence against the genitals, forced undressing, threats, and being forced to witness the sexual assault of loved ones. The victims included 102 men, 185 women, and 15 minors, including 14 girls and one boy, ranging in age from 4 to 82 years. Often, some members of the same family were forced to hear the sounds of torture being carried out on other members of their family while they were in the next room.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office mentions the story of a woman from Kherson who was subjected to violence. She recounts: “A woman, a mother of three children, was riding a bicycle through a checkpoint where there was a Russian soldier. He attacked her and began to rape her. After she realized that she would not escape from his hands, she rushed “She entered the minefield, not caring about what might happen to her. Either she would die or she would survive. She was lucky and actually survived without a mine exploding.”

Sexual violence differs significantly from other war crimes because the topic is both very sensitive and leaves a stigma on the victim, which is why most victims prefer to remain silent. In addition, it is impossible to accurately count the number of cases of crimes committed in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories, in particular in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. However, there are witnesses of prisoners who were illegally imprisoned in the “solitary” torture chamber in Donetsk.

In this regard, it is necessary to mention the crimes of kidnapping children, whose number ranges from 19.5 thousand according to official reports to 700 thousand according to Russian propaganda promoters. Unfortunately, their fate in Russia remains unknown. At the same time, it is not excluded that kidnapped children, especially teenage girls, are exposed to sexual violence there. Therefore, the number of cases of sexual violence crimes may be much higher.

The actions of the Russian occupation forces bear the character of genocide against the population of Ukraine, as the Russians want to exterminate the largest possible number of Ukrainians physically and morally, whether at the level of the leadership of the aggressor state or at the level of the population, as evidenced by the interception of the occupiers’ communications to their families urging them to “rape Ukrainian women.” “.

The occupation forces use sexual violence as a psychological weapon to humiliate their victims, depriving them of their physical and emotional integrity. Based on Clause (d) of Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which states that the imposition of measures intended to prevent the birth of children within a group constitutes genocide, Russian practices of sexual violence against civilians can be included under this clause.

The medieval methods of fighting Russian forces against the population of Ukraine are unacceptable in our time, when the entire civilized world seeks to achieve equality between women and men. Therefore, Russia as an aggressor state and its citizens involved in crimes related to sexual violence must not escape punishment.

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