There’s a growing body of evidence indicating Russia’s armed forces are raping and torturing their way across Ukraine. Not only are Russia’s soldiers raping women, they’re also raping children. Today a top human rights lawyer in charge of gathering evidence to prosecute Russia for war crimes has said Russian troops have “tacit permission” to rape civilians.
Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, who is part of a legal taskforce helping to build war crimes cases in Ukraine, said evidence so far shows “serious offences of a grievous kind” have been committed by Russian troops against citizens. “One of the things is that a change has taken place internationally in the recognition of rape as a weapon of war and what that means is not that an instruction is given from the top to go out there and rape citizens, women and girls and anybody else, but it’s about the sort of tacit permission that’s given.
“So what we have heard, and evidence is being gathered, is that serious offences of a grievous kind have been committed against citizens, against women and girls and that’s a new thing, in recognition and in investigating and in making sure that it properly reported.” Reports of rape adds to a growing body of evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
In the UK, The Metropolitan Police’s War Crimes Team, a unit within its counter-terrorism command (CTC), said it had already received around 50 referrals from people with a link to the UK, including those who have directly fled the conflict in the last two months since Russia’s invasion began.
Baroness Kennedy said: “There are many crimes, we’ve witnessed them on our news: bombing residential areas, bombing hospitals and orphanages, the business of bombing the theatre where it was quite clear that citizens, civilians, were in hiding and the word children was plastered on the ground so any aerial bombardment could see what they were dealing with and yet they bombed that place to smithereens, those are crimes.” To read more on this, use this link to The National Newspaper in Scotland.
‘Hide The Girls.’
With Russia forces systematically targeting civilians, destroying entire cities, towns, villages and engaging in widespread looting, it comes as no surprise to learn Russia’s encouraging the rape of Ukrainian civilians.
A case in point: In the town of Bucha, near Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, Karina Yershova (seen below) was killed by Russian soldiers. They tortured her and most likely raped her, Karina’s stepfather Andriy Dereko told the Kyiv Independent – Then, they shot her in the head. The police wouldn’t show Karina’s body to her parents, saying it would be too shocking to see. But Dereko saw the police photos of his stepdaughter’s body. “There were cuts and lacerations, there was also a piece of flesh torn off from her ribs. It’s obvious they tortured her.” Perhaps indicating she’d tried to defend herself or the Russian soldiers had ripped them off, Dereko said “Half of her nails were torn off.”
Multiple cases of rape in Bucha have been reported by lawyers, psychotherapists, and authorities. According to Ombudsman Lyudmila Denisova, 25 girls and women aged 14-24 were held captive in one basement in Bucha and were repeatedly raped by a group of Russian soldiers.
In a recording obtained by Ukraine’s Security Service, a Russian soldier talked on the phone about the rape of children: “ three tankers (soldiers) raped a girl,” a man is heard saying. “Who?” a woman asks. ”Three tankers. A 16-year-old girl,” the soldier replies. In another recording, a Russian woman is heard encouraging her husband to rape Ukrainian women. “You go ahead, rape Ukrainian women and do not tell me anything,” a woman is saying, giggling. “Alright,” her husband replies. This Russian couple has been identified. People speak of Chechen “kadyrovites,” named after their sadistic leader Ramzan Kadyrov, of raping and killing people.
Read more on these tragic stories via the Kyiv Independent website.