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Media community asked international community to punish Russia for crimes against Ukraine

29.03.2022, 19:10

Media, NGOs and human rights activists are calling on the international community to hold Russia accountable for crimes against Ukraine.

Media Detector publishes the full text of the statement 

On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation launched a large-scale invasion of the territory of the sovereign and independent state of Ukraine, violating the imperative norms of international law. This invasion was a continuation of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, which began in March 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and the subsequent occupation of part of the eastern territories of Ukraine. There is currently a large-scale international armed conflict in the heart of Europe, in which Russia regularly resorts to war crimes as a deliberately chosen strategy of terror against civilians. 

It is clear that this conflict has posed the greatest threat to world peace since World War II. And it could lead to the complete desmantlement of international legal order and entrying of world into an era of "war of all against all". This catastrophe was made possible tanks to laziness, cowardice and conformism of international institutions and organizations that turned out to be inapte to effectively defend the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. This was also made possible, since being relied on international standards and norms developed after the Second World War, we collectively did not notice that the comprehensive technological "undermining" of recent years requires a radical revision and adaptation of at least some of these standards. 

Recognizing the level of threat to the region and the world, as well as confident that the greatest crises create unique opportunities for crucial reforms and change for the better, we appeal to the international community and competent organizations with the following requirements: 

  1. Display one’s commitment to the spirit of international law and the appropriate political will to expel Russia from the UN Security Council. A country that has repeatedly violated the fundamental principles of the United Nations has no legal or moral right to remain a permanent member of one of its key bodies. 

ІІ. Recognize that the structure and certain procedures of the UN, and especially the peculiarities of the UN Security Council, were developped in view of the political realities at the end of World War II, are neocolonial and unjust in nature and have long been unable to maintain law and order. In this regard, this is indispensible to immediately begin the process of reviewing the basic mechanisms of the UN in order to radically reform them in terms of the real possibility of ensuring peace. 

III. Bring Russia to justice for international crimes committed against Ukraine, including crimes of aggression and war crimes. If it is impossible to effectively involve the International Criminal Court, it is necessary to establish a special international tribunal to investigate and punish crimes committed by Russian officials and the military against Ukraine. 

  1. Given that Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine involves a significant information component, within the work of such an international tribunal it is absolutely necessary to consider the responsibility of a number of Russian media who deliberately, systematically and massively developed and implemented aggressive information operations to spread misinformation and hatred, as well as propaganda and justification of Russian aggression against Ukraine. An indicative list of persons to be held liable is set out in Annex 1to this application. A non-exhaustive list of verified sources and reports with examples and evidence of such aggressive information operations is provided in Annex 2  to this appeal. 
  2. Recognize that freedom of expression and freedom of the media should in no way extend to aggressive information transactions funded, controlled or otherwise supported by States with unlawful intent. Immediately begin the process of international consultations involving representatives of civil society, academia and the media to develop a legal framework to limit and counter aggressive information operations at the international and regional levels. Numerous testimonies from Russian soldiers captured in Ukraine demonstrate how aggressive information operations lead to real armed conflict. For the sake of peace, this practice must be eradicated. 
  3. Recognize that in modern conflicts, information aggression is not a supportive factor, but a powerful main component. Immediately begin the process of international consultations to develop an updated definition of aggression for the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which would cover aggressive information operations. 

Realizing the complexity of the requirements, we are convinced that their successful implementation is possible and necessary to preserve the civilizational achievements of mankind and overcome the international security catastrophe. 

With respect and willingness to cooperate to achieve the objectives set out in this appeal 

Signed by: 

Independent Media Council, Ukraine 

Detector Media, Ukraine

Institute of Mass Information, Ukraine 

Center for Civil Liberties, Ukraine 

Internews-Ukraine, Ukraine 

Regional Press Development Institute, Ukraine

Suspilnist Foundation, Ukraine 

Center for Democracy and the Rule of Law, Ukraine 

ZMINA Human Rights Center, Ukraine

Commission on Journalistic Ethics, Ukraine 

StopFake, Ukraine

Digital Security Laboratory, Ukraine

Pylyp Orlynko Institute for Democracy, Ukraine

Human Rights Platform, Ukraine

Ukrainian Institute of Media and Communication, Ukraine

Consortium of Veterans' Organizations of the East, Ukraine

Ukrainian Association of Media Psychologists and Media Educators, Ukraine

National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, Ukraine

Association of Political Psychologists of Ukraine, Ukraine

National Media Association, Ukraine

European Values ​​- Center for Security Policy, Czech Republic 

Legal Media Center, Kazakhstan

101tv.kz, Kazakhstan

Tilshi, Kazakhstan

Coalition "New Generation of Human Rights Defenders", Kazakhstan

ProTenge, Kazakhstan 

Abzhan news, Kazakhstan 

International Center for Journalism MediaNet, Kazakhstan 

Factcheck.kz, Kazakhstan 

Youtube channel "Just journalism", Kazakhstan

Independent Press Association (API), Moldova

Center for Investigative Journalism, Moldova

Media - Guard Association, Moldova

Media Alternativa, TV8, Moldova

Sud-Est Media AO (Moldova.org), Moldova

PAS AO Center (Sanatateinfo.md), Moldova

Jurnal TV, Moldova

Press Freedom Committee, Moldova

JSC "Media & Human Rights", Moldova

Center for Independent Journalism, Moldova 

 Interact Media, Agora.md, Moldova

Electronic Press Association, Moldova

NewsMaker.md, Moldova

Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), Belarus

BYSOL Solidarity Fund, Belarus

Georgian Alliance of Regional Broadcasters, Georgia

Journalism Resource Center, Georgia

TOK TV-Georgia, Georgia

Freedom of Information Development Institute (IDFI), Georgia

Liberal Academy of Tbilisi, Georgia

Green movement of Georgia, Georgia

Association of Business Consulting Organizations of Georgia, Georgia

Imereti Union of Science - "SPECTRI", Georgia

Scientific and Intellectual Club "Dialogue of Generations", Georgia

Samtskhe-Javakhesti Regional Association "Tolerant", Georgia

Confederation of Trade Unions of Georgia, Georgia

Peaceful and Business Caucasus Association, Georgia

Mercury Association, Georgia

Union of Ecologists of the Black Sea, Georgia

Georgian Institute of Politics, Georgia

Gori Information Center, Georgia

Energy Development Fund, Georgia

Georgian Civic Development Association, Georgia

New Generation for Democracy, Georgia

You can join the signing of the application by following the  link.

Annex 1. Preliminary list of persons to be prosecuted for systematic, deliberate and mass development and implementation of aggressive information operations to spread misinformation, incite hatred, propaganda and justify Russian aggression against Ukraine: 

Dmitry Kiselyov, Deputy General Director of VGTRK

Olga Skabeeva, host of the talk show "60 minutes"

Yevheniy Popov

Roman Balayan

Zakhar Prilepin

Anton Krasovsky

Arkady Mamontov   

Margarita Simonyan

Tigran Keosayan

Vladimir Solovyov

Alexey Nikolov, General Director of RT

Anton Anisimov, editor-in-chief of Sputnik

Andriy Blagodyrenko

Dinara Toktosunova, CEO of Ruptly 

Andriy Norkin (NTV)

Artem Sheinin (Channel One)

Anatoliy Kuzychev (Channel One)

Olesya Loseva (Channel One)

Irada Zeynalova (NTV)

Roman Babayan (TV Center)

Alexander Kots (Komsomolskaya Pravda)

Andriy Kondrashov (VGTRK)

Kirill Kleimyonov (Channel One)

Arkady Mamontov (VGTRK)

Dmytro Steshyn (Komsomolskaya Pravda)

Vladimir Kornilov (RIA)

Vitaliy Tretyakov (MSU Higher School of Television) 

Oleg Lurie

Mykola Starikov

Anna Saffron (FM News)

Andriy Ilnytsky 

Dmitry Kulikov (Channel One)

Armen Gasparyan

Oksana Boyko (RT)

Inna Afinogenova (RT)

Murad Gazdiev (RT)

Igor Zhdanov (RT)

Mykhailo Rostovsky (RT)

Maxim Sokolov (RT)

Valentin Gorshenin (RT)

Maksim Al Touri (RT)

Ksenia Fedorova (RT France)

Maksim Dodonov (TV channel "Star")

Maria Finoshina (RT)

Annex 2. Preliminary list of verified sources and reports with examples and evidence of Russia's aggressive information operations against Ukraine:

Data base, monitoring and reports  of EUvsDisinfo, the flagship project of the European External Action Service's East StratCom Task Force (2015-2022) 

# DisinfoChronicle.Kremlin disinformation about the military offensive in Ukraine , ongoing monitoring by Detector.Media as of 25 February 2022 and for the period of the international armed conflict 

Ongoing monitoring and reports of  StopFake  initiative (2014-till present) 

Ongoing monitoring, reports and newsletters of the  European Values ​​Center for Security Policy

European Commission, ' A multi-dimensional approach to disinformation. Report of the independent High-Level Group on fake news and online disinformation '(Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2018) 

NGO Internews Ukraine, Analytical publication  'Words and Wars: Ukraine facing Kremlin propaganda ' (KIC 2017)

de Jong S, Sweijs T, Kertysova K, Bos R,  Inside the Kremlin House of Mirrors  (The Hague Center for Strategic Studies 2017) 

Dutsyk D, Shutov R, Burkovskyi P, Chernenko S,  Counteraction to Russian Information Aggression: Joint Action to Protect Democracy  (Telekritika 2015) 

Janda J, Víchová V, Richter M, Sharibzhanov I, Fišer J, ' How do the EU28 perceive and react to the threat of hostile influence and disinformation operations by the Russian Federation and its proxies? '(European Values, 2017)  

Kruk K, ' Analyzing the Ground Zero. What Western Countries Can Learn from Ukrainian Experience of Combating Russian Disinformation '(European Values, 2017)  

Pomerantsev P, Weiss M,  The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money  (The Institute of Modern Russia 2014) 

Splidsboel Hansen F,  Russian Hybrid Warfare: A Study of Disinformation  (DIIS 2017) 

Fact Vs. Fiction: Russian Disinformation on Ukraine (Factsheet)  (US Department of State, 2022) 

Umland A, ' The dangers of echoing Russian disinformation on Ukraine ' (Atlantic Council, 2021) 

Nicholson K, ' There's a flood of disinformation about Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Here's who's sorting it out '(CBC News, 2022) 

Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group, ' Fear, Lies, and Discredit. Overview of the Main Areas of Russian Disinformation in the First Half of 2021 '(Ukraine Crisis Media Center, 2021) 

Moore C, ' Russian and Disinformation: the case of Ukraine ' (CREST, 2019) 

Holroyd M, ' Debunking the most viral misinformation about Russia's war in Ukraine ' (Euronews.com, 2022) 

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