The Russian military has engaged in an escalating campaign of aggression against Ukraine which has culminated in war crimes against Ukrainian civilians. The Kremlin, with Vladimir Putin at the head, has “incited” war crimes in Ukraine which are now being steadily exposed by videos and witness accounts being reported in the media. Professor David Scheffer, who is an expert in war criminality described Russia’s brutal strategy in Ukraine as a pivotal moment in history as the massacre of civilians edges towards genocide.He said: “This is a phenomenal occurrence in world history, where the atrocities that are being committed by the Russian military as part of a criminal aggression against Ukraine.”
Professor Scheffer suggested President Putin was attempting to escalate the vicious campaign of Russian aggression as he praised media exposure of soldier brutality against civilians.
He said: “Under the crime of aggression are certainly war crimes and we’re increasingly seeing crimes against humanity which are these intentional assaults against a civilian population.
“Now, we’re reaching the red lines of genocide.
“There is so much exposure in the media to the commission of these crimes that never before have we really seen so much information flooding in that can establish the basis, not only for initial investigations, which are already underway, but also ultimately for prosecutions and determinations of state responsibility for Russian in various judicial forms.”
Professor Scheffer, who has had extensive involvement with the International Criminal Court during past investigations and prosecutions for war crimes, claimed it was the Kremlin which has orchestrated and allowed war crimes against civilians in Ukraine.
He said: “Genocide has many dimensions to it, but one of the most ugly dimensions is the incitement to genocide.
“That’s what the Russian Government is doing, it’s inciting it.”
The conflict analyst claimed Russia had already committed serious atrocities including “killing and raising residential areas with constant bombardments and deporting children.”
International governments have been called upon to identify and prevent the escalation of Russian aggression against innocent Ukrainian civilians.
Professor Scheffer said: “At this point it is extremely important under the Genocide Convention, which Rusisa is a party to and most other nations are party to, that there is a duty to prevent genocide, not just to prosecute it.
“In order to prevent it, you actually have to call it out pretty quickly.”
Professor Scheffer, who is highly qualified in international law, highlighted that Putin’s savage campaign of violence in Ukraine has violated the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which Russia had agreed to.
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The opening declaration of 1948 UN agreement explains: “Genocide is a crime under international law, contrary to the spirit and aims of the United Nations and condemned by the civilized world.”
Russia, as a member of the United Nations, is expected to follow the Genocide Convention which explicity states such war crimes should be avoided but, where they have occured, be prevented and punished.
A UN human rights monitoring mission to Ukraine, led by Matilda Bogner, uncovered evidence “the unlawful killing of over 300 men, women and children” in the towns surrounding Kyiv that had been occupied by Russian soldiers.
Ms Bogner said: “Depending on the circumstances, the death of a single civilian or someone hors de combat may constitute a war crime, as they are protected persons under international humanitarian law.
“Killings may also violate the right to life under international human rights law.”