Norwegian researcher: The war in Ukraine is brutal, but not genocide

Photo: Fredrik Varfjell / NTB

When it comes to the war in Ukraine, we are nowhere near the legal description of genocide, lawyer and international law researcher Cecilie Hellestveit says.

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden described Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide.

“What is happening in Ukraine is deeply shocking and a crime against an entire nation,” Hellestveit said. 

“This is war, not genocide. The fact that many are killed is an effect of the fact that there is a war,” she told NTB.

Hellestveit believes that President Vladimir Putin’s speeches cannot be understood as meaning that he believes that Ukraine should cease to exist.

“It is not an attempt to wipe out the Ukrainian people,” Hellestveit said. She is a lawyer and political scientist affiliated with the Institute of International Law.

Biden’s statements

During a rally in Iowa, Biden called Russia’s actions in Ukraine a genocide. 

“It has become clearer and clearer that Putin is trying to erase the very idea that it is possible to be a Ukrainian,” he said.

Hellestveit pointed out that Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine is a big enough crime in itself and that there is no need to push the war into the category of genocide. But there are indications that war crimes are being committed, she added.

UN investigation

According to Hellestveit, it is not uncommon for parties in war to accuse each other of genocide.

Under international law, only the International Court of Justice in The Hague, with its UN mandate, can say whether an ongoing operation is a genocide. 

The court is already investigating the war, as Ukraine asked it to refute President Vladimir Putin’s allegations that Ukraine committed genocide against ethnic Russians in the Donbas region. 

The UN court then ordered Russia to stop the war.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) can investigate allegations of war crimes and genocide directed at individuals.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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1 Comment on "Norwegian researcher: The war in Ukraine is brutal, but not genocide"

  1. It is commendable that Cecilie wants to exercise restraint about such volatile words/propaganda, but there clearly is genocidal intent in some minds.
    On the Ukrainian side there was the Lviv Ukraine Channel 24 TV host, Fahruddin Sharafmal, calling for the extermination of Russian children on his program, with an inset of Adolf Eichmann on his screen. (“Ukrainian TV host calls for genocide of Russian children,” Miami Standard News, 17Mar22. Lots of older, retired Jewish Americans in Florida, who would be especially concerned by such talk. From another source, Fahruddin is Afghan.)
    And Ukraine doctor and hospital administrator Gennadiy Druzenko has called for Russian prisoners to be castrated. (“Ukrainian doctor tells TV interviewer he has ordered his staff to CASTRATE Russian soldiers because they are ‘cockroaches’ Gennadiy Druzenko, 49, told Ukraine-24 he gave order to castrate Russian POWs The owner of a war-zone mobile hospital told broadcast ‘they are cockroaches'” Daily Mail, 21Mar22.)
    Both have retracted their statements, but their suggestions are still out there.
    Then there are the Russians’ repeated accusations that Russian language and culture … and ethnic Russians … were being suppressed and harassed, if not worse.
    On the Russians’ side some of an enraged Putin’s statements seem anti-Ukrainian in the ethnic sense, so the anger and incentive for war crimes continues to escalate.

    The Russians’ security treaty needs were and are fair, and after all our broken security promises to them and our Western-backed 2014 Kiev coup breaking our Budapest peace agreement with them, we owe it to them to instead be getting Ukraine to agree to the fair treaty, to end this horror before it becomes even more a holocaust.

    As to our president who opposes the fair treaty and pushed this war and used the incendiary “genocide”term, here is my comment posted elsewhere:

    This old political machine fool is just dying to escalate this into World War 3 to become a war president/dictator, regardless of getting our own completely unprepared families killed.

    This war is Joe Biden’s guilt. He opposed giving the Russians the fair security treaty they need and was even talking up the war to an appalled Zelensky telling him to “Prepare for impact.”
    (The specific trigger was Z. himself, pumped up by the Europeans in Munich, opening the door to Ukraine getting nuclear weapons.)

    Meanwhile, Earth’s boiling – which we need international unity to stop – continues unabated. Unbelievable. At least mass-suicide lemmings don’t wreck the environment.

    Joe Biden is a clear and present and *deadly* danger to our loved ones and our American democracy and should be (legally) removed from power while there may still be time to secure a fair treaty.

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