The term “genocide” has accompanied Russia’s war in Ukraine from the very beginning.
It was originally used by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself as part of Kremlin propaganda and an explanation for the start of the war. He claimed that Ukraine was committing “genocide” against the Russian population in Donbas.
After the atrocities in Bucha, the word entered the vocabulary of Ukrainian President Zelensky. So far, no international institution has defined war crimes in Ukraine as “genocide”.
How to reach the “threshold of genocide”
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The war in Ukraine (967)
Genocide is the most serious crime in law. The word first appeared 77 years ago. Derived from the Greek word genos (race or group) and the Latin word cedere (kill). Its author in 1944 was the Polish lawyer Rafael Lemkin, who lost almost his entire family in the Holocaust. The term was first adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1946, and since 1948 has existed as a separate crime in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
The first genocide in the world in the 20th century is considered to be the one over the Herero and Nama tribes in Namibia by Germany – between 1904 and 1908. 100,000 people were killed.
Eugene Finkel, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Bologna, was the first researcher on genocide in the world to admit last week that what Russia is doing in Ukraine can now be defined as genocide.
In recent days, in the authoritative German “Die Zeit”, as well as in the “Washington Post”, and his Twitter, he developed his thesis with several important arguments.
Russia became radicalized during the war
The most important thing is that Russia did not start this war with the idea of genocide over Ukraine, but its behavior became radicalized during the war and the combination of actions and official statements now makes it possible to talk about genocide.
“What we have seen in the last few days is a complete change of tone, even in the state media: the Ukrainian elite must be liquidated, the state must be destroyed. For me, anything alone would not be enough to represent “But in general, I think the threshold of genocide has been reached,” Finkel said.
For a crime to be recognized by a court as genocide, it must pursue a genocidal purpose – that is, the perpetrator must aim to destroy a group of people – national, ethnic, religious, or racial – as such.
Finkel does not believe that Russia invaded Ukraine for this purpose – with the desire to destroy the Ukrainians as an ethnic group. Even before the war, Russia’s theses bore the stamp of colonial thinking – Ukrainians are not perceived as a true nation, and Ukraine is not perceived as a true state. But this does not mean that they are aimed at their actual destruction or massacre. At the moment, however, this is already the case, Finkel said. Things turn around when Russia realizes that Ukraine cannot be “liberated” by the Russians.
Exact plan for the destruction of a national group
The article “What to do with Ukraine” by the official Russian agency RIA Novosti from April 3 for Finkel is precisely this new element of radicalization and change of thinking – from colonialism to genocide. The article openly states that the Ukrainian elite cannot be re-educated and must therefore be destroyed, that a large part of the population is to blame and will have to endure “ideological re-education” and “repression” that will probably take a generation. to arrive at “de-Ukrainization”.
“It is difficult to imagine a more precise plan for the destruction of a national group,” Finkel wrote. The publication of this text on a state media platform means its approval at the highest level.
It is this combination of official statements that denies the right of Ukraine and Ukrainians to exist, and the very actions of the actual destruction of civilians, that is already on the verge of genocide, says Eugene Finkel.
If the international community recognizes what is being done in Ukraine as genocide and not as war crimes – as it is now – this will be a new page in the history of the conflict.
“These are different levels of responsibility, so I think it’s important to shift the debate from war crimes to genocide because that implies a more systematic approach to responsibility. But as long as Putin is alive and in power, I don’t think something will happen.
But lower-level people, soldiers, field officers, those who actually kill, these 20-year-old boys, still have a much longer life expectancy than Putin. For them, the possibility of being held accountable is much greater. That is why we need to focus the discussion on them and start gathering evidence because without them there will be no responsibility. ”
The war could continue until the end of next year, Boris Johnson said
The war could continue until the end of next year, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
This came during his visit to Delhi after being asked if he agreed with the intelligence, which suggests that the Russian bombing of Ukraine could continue until the end of next year. This is a “realistic opportunity”, the prime minister was quoted as saying by the BBC.
“Putin has a huge army,” he said. “He is in a very difficult political position because he made a catastrophic blunder.”
“The only opportunity he has now is to keep trying to use his horrific, groundbreaking approach to artillery strikes to try to defeat the Ukrainians.”
Johnson added that “no matter” the military superiority that Vladimir Putin may achieve in the next few months, “he will not be able to capture the spirit of the Ukrainian people.”
The Prime Minister announced that the British Embassy in Kyiv will open soon
At the same time, the Ministry of Defense in London confirmed that the country is considering the option of sending Challenger 2 tanks to Poland to replace the Polish T-72, which Warsaw will hand over to Ukraine. Britain has already announced the sending of the Ukrainian army in armored vehicles.
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