Filter camps are reportedly being used by Russian forces in occupied territories of Ukraine, as part of its ongoing invasion.
According to According to the human rights commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Lyudmyla Denisova, people considered “especially dangerous” (in ideological terms) or “unreliable” are forced to walk through it every three days.
By analyzing the legal status of the so-called filtering camps organized by the Russian occupation authorities in Ukraine, where they forcibly detain Ukrainian citizens, torture them, confiscate their papers, separate their family members and displace Ukrainians towards Russia, we can conclude that the Russian Federation commits a number of war crimes under many of the articles contained in the 1949 Geneva Convention.
The creation and existence of these filtration camps are not provided for by any international document and are totally contrary to the norms and principles of international law.
There is no legal basis for Russia organizing so-called filter camps. Moreover, the scale of torture and ill-treatment perpetrated by the Russians in these camps amounts to war crimes under international humanitarian law.
This includes willful murder, torture, inhuman treatment, intentional infliction of severe suffering, serious bodily harm and injury to health, rape, slavery, deportation and forcible transfer of Ukrainian population, cruel deprivation of physical liberty, persecution of Ukrainians on the national territory, ethnic and cultural motives, extermination of Ukrainians and more.
I am of the opinion that Ukraine should take the following steps now:
- In accordance with paragraph 2 (c), sub-paragraph (i) of Article 90 of Protocol I of the Geneva Convention, the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission is competent to investigate any fact which would constitute a serious violation of the Conventions and of this Protocol. or other serious breaches of the Conventions and this Protocol.
Since the facts of which we are aware constitute serious violations, as defined by the Conventions and this Protocol, they must be submitted with evidence to the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission for investigation.
- To identify the reasons why neither the President of Ukraine nor the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine signed in accordance with the procedure of the Ukrainian Law of December 27, 2019 № 2689 “Draft Law on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the Implementation of Norms of International Criminal and Humanitarian Law”, which was sent to the President of Ukraine for signature on June 7, 2021, and take civil society measures to correct this situation .
This law aims to ensure the full implementation of the norms of international criminal and humanitarian law relating to the prosecution of international crimes (genocide, aggression, crimes against humanity and war crimes), as well as to ensure compliance with the obligations legal and effective prevention of impunity for the commission of such crimes.
- Recommend to the Ukrainian Parliament to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
- Take into account the proposal of the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to international organizations in Vienna, Yevhen Tsymbalyuk, to establish a special court in the case of the crime of aggression against Ukraine in order to bring the Russian leaders to justice.
- Establish an Information Office in accordance with Article 136 of the Convention.
- Work more actively to find ways to appoint a Protecting Power.
- Take steps to bring to justice those responsible in the Russian Federation for the crimes of aggression.
- In accordance with Article 82 of Protocol I, the High Contracting Parties, at all times, and the Parties to the conflict in time of armed conflict, ensure that legal advisers are available, if necessary, to advise military commanders at the level on the application of the Conventions and this Protocol and on the appropriate instruction to be given to the armed forces on this subject. In particular, they should bring to the attention of the personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine the Instruction on the procedure for the implementation of international humanitarian law in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, approved by the order of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine dated March 23, 2017 № 164 and registered with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine on June 9, 2017 for № 704 / 30572.
During the war, full-time military lawyers moved into the category of legal advisers.
However, there may not be enough full-time lawyers available during the war.
Svitlana Sydorenko is a military lawyer, former officer of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Senior Lieutenant of the Reserve Justice.
Russian filtration camps are a war crime (1) can be read here.