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Ukrainian legislation needs a law for bringing the Russian teachers in the TOT to justice – IMI study

01.06.2023, 17:40
Edit by IMI, photos by Serhiy Nikitenko
Edit by IMI, photos by Serhiy Nikitenko

It is currently difficult to hold the Russian teachers who have come to the temorarily occupied territories to erase the Ukrainian identity through education legally accountable.

This is explored in IMI's study “Cultural Genocide: Who is Introducing Russian Education into Ukraine’s Occupied Territories”.

The current Ukrainian law lacks an article that would stipulate such liability for the criminal actions of the aggressor state's teachers.

The Criminal Code of Ukraine has Article 111-1 Part 3, which outlines the actions of Russian teachers in the occupied territories, but it serves to punish Ukrainian citizens for collaborationism. The law mentions “propaganda in educational institutions, regardless of the types and forms of ownership, to facilitate the armed aggression against Ukraine, establishment and consolidation of the temporary occupation of a part of the territory of Ukraine, avoidance of responsibility for the armed aggression against Ukraine by the aggressor state, as well as the actions of citizens of Ukraine aimed at implementing the education standards of the aggressor state in educational institutions.” The penalties stipulated by the law include community service for up to two years, arrest for up to six months, or three years in prison with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for 10 to 15 years.

“So as of today, only the collaborating teachers who hold Ukrainian citizenship can be held accountable for the unlawful implementation of Russian education. As for the aggressor state’s educators, those can be brought to justice if they are deemed accomplices (organizers, instigators, abettors) in the aforementioned crime. The mere fact of the aggressor state’s teachers committing the listed actions (the execution itself) currently remains beyond the legal framework of the valid Criminal Code of Ukraine,” specifies the lawyer Volodymyr Zelenchuk.

As it stands today, Russian teachers can be held accountable under CCU Article 332-1 for “violating the procedure for entering the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine or leaving it.” As per Part 1 of the article, the aforementioned unlawful actions “committed with the aim of interfering with the state’s interests are punished by limitation of freedom for up to three years or deprivation of freedom for the same term with confiscation of vehicles.”

The Institute of Mass Information calls on the Ukrainian authorities to amend the CCU. "We need a law that would make Russian educators personally liable for coming to the temporarily occupied territories to force the aggressor state’s identity onto Ukrainians through the education system," the study states.

The Institute of Mass Information also emphasizes that Russia’s attempts at implementing its system of education in the occupied territories and all the schemes and efforts that serve this purpose should be viewed as part of the cultural genocide of the Ukrainian people.

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