Crime & Justice

The Ukrainian activist documenting alleged Russian war crimes

By Antonio Broto

Geneva, Apr 8 (EFE).- Olga Aivazovska, a well-known Ukrainian political expert, is currently documenting alleged war crimes perpetrated by the Russian army during its invasion of Ukraine.

“We have data on hundreds of thousands of cases,” Aivazovska tells Efe in an interview on the sidelines of the Geneva Summit on Human Rights and Democracy Summit.

Exiled in neighboring Poland, like many other Ukrainians, Aivazovska has joined the International Center for Ukrainian Victory, a network that collects testimonies from refugees and survivors to build a legal case against Russia in international courts.

According to Aivazovska, the Bucha massacre that has horrified international observers is just the tip of the iceberg.

The expert says it is likely the worst crimes will be unearthed in Mariupol, which has been besieged by Russian troops for weeks.

“Bucha only had 35,000 people but in Mariupol there were 400,000, and at least half are currently still there,” and as yet no there is no data on how many have died.


Aivazovska says a special tribunal to judge Russia’s crimes will be required, given that Moscow does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Despite this, the ICC has already launched a probe against the Kremlin.

Russia is committing “four types of crimes in Ukraine: aggression, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, but not all of these types of crimes are under the jurisdiction of the ICC,” says Aivazovska, who participated in the 2014 Minsk peace accords which sought to put an end to fighting in the Donbas region in Ukraine.

However, these types of war crimes tribunals, such as the Nuremberg trials after the Nazi defeat in World War II, have only been successful when one side has won. “That’s why we have to focus on the victory,” she adds.

Aivazovska fled the capital on February 24, the day Russian forces launched the invasion. Her husband drove her to western Ukraine, but he returned to Kyiv to join the army.

According to the political scientist, many Ukrainian activists who were on a KGB “blacklist” have been kidnapped by Russian forces, especially in the south of the country.


When discussing Russia’s war tactics, Aivazovska is blunt: they no longer behave like human beings, they believe that they have a historical destiny to fulfill and that they must win by any means possible, using all methods.

“They just bomb civilian objectives like theatres, hospitals, schools. It is a regular practice for Russians because they want to terrorize civilians,” she notes.

“I don’t think that Russia and Ukraine can become part of the same family again after this brutal aggression,” the activist says.EFE


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