Report Explains Accountability for War Crimes in Ukraine

President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Photo: Kremlin (file photo)
President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Photo: Kremlin (file photo)

This latest report, prepared by the Yale Humanitarian Research Lab, is available in its entirety at the program’s website.

The U.S. Department of State-supported Conflict Observatory program released a report on August 25 that includes evidence of Russia-perpetrated filtration operations in, and forced deportations from, Ukraine. 

The unlawful transfer and deportation of protected persons is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians and constitutes a war crime. “We again call on Russia to immediately halt its filtration operations and forced deportations and to provide outside independent observers access to identified facilities and forced deportation relocation areas within Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine and inside Russia itself,” said the U.S. Department of State in its statement.

This latest report, prepared by the Yale Humanitarian Research Lab, is available in its entirety at the program’s website. The report documents 21 sites in the Donetsk oblast alone associated with filtration operations. “This adds to the growing body of credible reporting and evidence on filtration operations that should deeply concern us all. It is consistent with other public reporting from a variety of sources,” the State Department said.

Other Conflict Observatory reports detail instances of damage to healthcare and educational facilities in Ukraine’s Russian-held Luhansk oblast resulting from Russia’s war. A recent report from Observatory partner Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative identifies over 450 potential impacts to cultural heritage sites across Ukraine from February to June 2022, including archaeological sites, museums, and places of worship. Taken together, according to the State Department, these and other reliable reporting chronicle several aspects of the carnage unleashed by President Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

The United States says it recognizes the need for the documentation, verification, and dissemination of information regarding the actions of the Russian Government. As such, the U.S. Department of State will fund the Conflict Observatory with an additional $9 million through the European Democratic Resilience Initiative. This focus on accountability lays the foundation for future civil and criminal legal processes, whether in Ukraine, through international mechanisms, or in third-party countries that have established jurisdiction.

“President Putin and his government will not be able to engage in these persistent abuses with impunity. Accountability is imperative, and the United States and our partners will not be silent. The people of Ukraine deserve justice, and the United States will continue to stand united with them for as long as it takes,” the State Department added in its statement.

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Rakesh Raman