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Russia's politics enables propagandists to sincerely and straightforwardly call for a genocide of Ukrainians without hesitation – IMI lawyer

15.11.2023, 18:00

Analyzing the history of international tribunals prosecuting propagandists for calls to genocide shows that the court tends to take into account not just individual responsibility, but also the context and the formation of the basis for the crime, said Volodymyr Zelenchuk, a lawyer at the Institute of Mass Information, at the Ukraine-Ukrinform Media Center on November 15.

"Russia's politics enables specific propagandists to sincerely and straightforwardly call for a genocide of Ukrainians without hesitation. It is important that our law enforcement agencies, with our help, prove that all these signs – the euphemisms (e.g., "the SMO" instead of "the war", – Ed.), developing a policy of discrimination against Ukrainians, and other signs are an integral component of the corpus delicti for the crime of genocide," Volodymyr Zelenchuk explained.

According to him, international tribunals define these signs as helpful in identifying the intent to commit genocide or individual acts of genocide.

"In this context, it is important for us to record these things, because if an international tribunal will be investigating this, such signs will be included in the public indictment, enhance it and reveal the context in which the crime was committed. Practice shows that this context is taken into account, it confirms calls for a crime. As defined by the Convention or the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, this is direct and public incitement to commit the crime of genocide," he said.

The lawyer stressed that it is most important to identify the signs of incitement or calls to genocide: who exactly is the propagandist in question, which media outlet spread this call and when.

"The Institute of Mass Information records these narratives and passes them on to the law enforcement agencies. Every now and then we release studies on specific propagandists. We hope that this will result in them being brought to justice, no matter what mechanism is used for this: national or international," said Zelenchuk.

We remind that earlier, the IMI director, Oksana Romaniuk, suggested using specific terms to refer to Russian propaganda: "aggressive propaganda" or "genocidal rhetoric".

The lawyer of the Institute of Mass Information, Volodymyr Zelenchuk, explained that the evidence of the financing of genocidal rhetoric will be used against the Russian Federation in the future, as soon as the mechanism of prosecution is determined - either within the ICC or within the special tribunal.

The IMI is gathering evidence which will help prosecute Russian propagandists for endorsing a genocide of Ukrainians. Moreover, the IMI is working to help "cultural genocide" emerge as a concept in international law, as to date it is yet to be approved at the international level.

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