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  • Ryan Wittler

The Serious Risk of Genocide in Ukraine


A new analysis from the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights and the New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy argues Russia is responsible for inciting genocide in Ukraine, with the “intent to destroy the Ukrainian national group.”

Analysis highlights:

The analysis accuses Russia of “direct and public incitement to commit genocide” in Ukraine, evidenced by a string of atrocities its troops have committed, including mass killings, deliberate attacks on evacuation routes and humanitarian corridors, and the indiscriminate bombing of residential areas.

  • It also cites denials by high-level Russian officials and state media of a unique Ukrainian identity, claims that dehumanize Ukrainians (e.g., calling them “scum” that are “therefore deserving of punishment”), and rewarding soldiers suspected of mass killings as evidence.

Three dozen international experts on genocide and atrocity crimes contributed to the analysis, compiling evidence from various open sources and visits to Ukraine.

Why it matters:

The analysis puts other countries on notice of a serious risk of genocide in Ukraine, triggering legal obligations to prevent it under the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

  • According to the International Court of Justice, once nations are aware of the risk of genocide, the convention requires them to “employ all means reasonably available to them, so as to prevent genocide so far as possible.”

The obligation doesn’t necessarily mean countries have to step in militarily, but does place responsibility on countries to act.

  • The magnitude of the obligation also varies from nation to nation, but places a greater duty on countries with “strong political links to Russia.”

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