There is no doubt about it for the three experts from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) responsible for investigating crimes committed in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24. The forces sent by the Kremlin have indeed violated international humanitarian law (IHL), they analyze in a report of a hundred pages published on Wednesday April 13.
→ ANALYSIS. War in Ukraine: Russia in the sights of international justice
After investigating for a month, they accuse the Russians of failing to take the necessary precautions to avoid hitting sites like schools and hospitals, homes and residential buildings, cultural properties, water and infrastructure. electricity.
If Moscow had complied with its IHL obligations, “the number of civilians killed or injured would have been significantly lower”, they explain. Although they do not comment on the number of civilian victims, they assure that it probably exceeds the ten thousand dead..
War crimes in Mariupol
Among the attacks on which the investigators leaned, that which targeted the maternity and the hospital for children of Mariupol, on March 9. In this case with worldwide repercussions, Moscow was accused by Ukraine of having knowingly targeted this hospital – which the Kremlin disputed. However, the OSCE report clearly establishes the responsibility of the Russian forces and judges that this bombardment is indeed a war crime.
→ DEBATE. Are Ukrainian hospitals deliberately targeted by Russia?
Similarly, that of March 16 against the Mariupol drama theatre, during which 300 people were killed: it was indeed committed by pro-Russian forces and also constitutes a war crime. If OSCE investigators find that Ukrainian forces are also responsible for « violations »they judge that those accomplished by the Russians “are far more important in their nature and scale”.
Can Vladimir Putin be accused of genocide?
Do they go so far as to assert, like American President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, that Vladimir Putin is committing a “genocide” in Ukraine? “The Mission is not in a position to conclude whether the Russian attack on Ukraine can, in itself, be qualified as a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population”answer the investigators who completed their investigation before the discovery, at the beginning of April, in Boutcha (near kyiv), of hundreds of corpses.
→ MAINTENANCE. “The crime against humanity is no less terrible than genocide”
“However, it does retain that certain patterns of acts of violence (…) such as targeted killings, enforced disappearances or abductions of civilians… are likely to meet this qualification”they admit.