WHY DO SOME INSIST ON
NOT CALLING THE
RUSCISTS’ CRIMES IN
UKRAINE A “GENOCIDE”?
As of August 2022, eight countries have officially recognized the actions of russia in Ukraine as genocide, with even more world leaders publicly describing the atrocities committed by russian soldiers with the same terminology.
And that, in my opinion, is an absolutely correct action to take, because it not only clarifies the intensity of what is happening in Ukraine, but also helps us understand what is at the stake in this war for the Ukrainian people. Even as I write this chapter down, countless attacks and massacres executed in the name of “russian peace” keep happening with no means to an end.
Yet “even more” doesn’t mean “all”. And in this section, I would like to clarify the possible reasonings as to why some refrain from determining ruscists’ crimes in Ukraine as genocide.
FIRSTLY, LET US START WITH THE COUNTRIES THEMSELVES.
Most of the states that haven’t yet publicly called ruscists’ crimes in Ukraine a “genocide” either ignore the topic of the civilian destruction overall or claim to punish all the atrocities committed by russia, while referring to them all as simple “war crimes”.
Therefore, one can state a conclusion that the leaders of such countries are not yet ready to fully burn the bridges with the russian federation and its influence on their economy, politics, and society.
AS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, THERE HAS BEEN NO
PUBLIC RECOGNITION THAT RUSSIA IS COMMITTING GENOCIDE IN
IN UKRAINE - ONLY CONDEMNATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR
THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION TO STOP THESE ATROCITIES.
What is more interesting is that the representatives of many institutions usually insist on rejecting the term genocide to be used in the context of Ukraine.
For example, on April 3, 2022, Aisling Reidy (who is a Senior Legal Counsel at Human Rights Watch) once stated to Deutsche Welle that
"[In Bucha itself] there's certainly war crimes, potential crimes against humanity, where we're seeing civilians killed, clearly killed in a summary execution format,"
concluding her speech by stating that it is "too early" to call what happened “genocide”.
LASTLY, MOST REMARKS ABOUT THE INAPPROPRIATE USAGE OF
“GENOCIDE” IN THE CONTEXT OF UKRAINE UNSURPRISINGLY COME
FROM INTERNATIONAL LAWYERS, AS THERE ARE COUNTLESS CRITERIA
IN MODERN INTERNATIONAL LAW THAT NEED EVIDENCE TO BE
On the one hand, many international lawyers note that the issue of genocide is immensely relevant to what is now happening in Ukraine and should be centered in the upcoming debates.
On the other hand, they strongly believe that the framing of “whether genocide is committed by russia in Ukraine” is an incorrect legal framework to engage with today, as such formulation risks serving as a distraction and would potentially lead counties to incorrectly believe that only when there has been a determination of genocide are they obligated to act.