“Today there is no element that appears to lead to the discovery of the commission of genocide in Ukraine”Clemence Picart, a lawyer with the International Federation for Human Rights (Fidh), said Thursday, April 14, in France Info. While many leaders of the international community, including Joe Biden, denounced the genocide committed by Russia in Ukraine. Emmanuel Macron does not want to endorse this term. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced himself “injured” From the reserves of the French Head of State. “You still have to remember that words have meaning and that it is important not to mislead them.”The lawyer says.
>> Follow the latest developments in the war in Ukraine live.
franceinfo: Should we use the term genocide?
Clemence Pickartt: Today there is no element that seems to lead to the conclusion that the crime of genocide is being committed in Ukraine. Genocide is effectively defined as the desire to exterminate a population as a whole because of their nationality in this case. That doesn’t really appear to be the case, according to information from the field today. Therefore, we still have to remember that words have meaning and it is important not to mislead them.
“Just because genocide was not committed does not mean that there are no very serious crimes being committed in Ukraine.”Clemence Buckart, attorney at Fidh
>> Can we talk about a “genocide” perpetrated by the Russian army, as President Volodymyr Zelensky said?
Is it normal for the international community to be divided on this issue?
Yes, and this is normal because these are legal terms and there is usually the fact that it is the courts of justice that have to prove the truth of these crimes. It is up to the International Criminal Court to conduct its investigation. It is up to the national courts to do this and be able to determine whether the elements of these various offenses are legally constituted. But again today, it is very appropriate to talk about war crimes. The International Criminal Court has also opened an investigation into possible crimes against humanity.
What is the difference between war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide?
War crimes are crimes committed in the context of war related to an armed conflict. These are crimes committed primarily against persons protected by international humanitarian law, and thus against civilians. A crime against humanity is a crime that may be committed in peacetime or in wartime, but which presupposes the manifestation of a generalized or systematic attack against the civilian population. This goes beyond a certain threshold and it must be demonstrated that the Russian authorities desire a systematic or generalized attack aimed exclusively at the Ukrainian civilian population. This is one of the qualifications that the International Criminal Court opened its investigation into since the beginning of next March. This clearly shows that there is a special vigilance regarding this qualification.
“What has now been proven to be war crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine, may well amount to crimes against humanity.”Clemence Pickart
Does it take time to define the concept of all these crimes?
It is clear that it is very rare for justice to be practiced in real time. The investigation opened very early, after the outbreak of the Russian invasion at the level of the International Criminal Court. There are now dozens of countries that have also opened investigations in their national courts, including, of course, Ukraine. These initiatives are welcome. It is extremely important today that the question of justice and the fight against impunity is brought up very early in international discussions, very early in the beginning of this conquest. But with all that, we must also remember that justice is always a long time to be respected, it is important. First because it is difficult to prove crimes, but it is more complicated to manage the identification of responsibilities, because this is one of the objectives of the investigation of the International Criminal Court, including access to the identification of higher responsibilities, whether military or political. .