Amnesty International documents rights violations by Russia in Ukraine invasion
Amnesty International has been documenting attacks against civilians in Ukraine, with the targeting by Russian forces of hospitals and schools, its director for Eastern Europe Marie Struthers said.
The rights group is releasing its annual report on Tuesday (March 29), in the shadow of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Struthers said Russia was repeating siege techniques used in the wars in Syria and Chechnya, where civilians were indiscriminately targeted and where cluster ammunitions banned under international humanitarian law were being used.
"We're very pleased that at least 39 states acted very quickly to request that the International Criminal Court open an investigation into possible war crimes committed on Ukrainian territory," she said.
Abductions and forced displacement of Ukrainians to Russia, which the UN Human Rights Office has documented, if proven to be true, "is clearly a war crime and is absolutely prohibited under the Geneva conventions," Struthers said.
Amnesty International, on the other hand, has urged Ukrainian soldiers to stop documenting Russian soldiers being held as prisoners of war, as it was also a violation of their rights.
Russia's month-old invasion of Ukraine, the biggest European conflict since World War Two, has seen over 3.8 million Ukrainians flee abroad, left thousands dead or injured and isolated Russia's economy.
In Russia, Amnesty International has observed the further dwindling of rights, with arrests and fines of civilians who have protested against the war, and new legislation that punishes individuals calling it an "invasion" as opposed to a "special military operation".
Struthers has warned of total disinformation, with the last of independent media having shut down after warnings or threats of imprisonment.
A Russian court found prominent Kremlin critic, Alexei Navalny, guilty of large-scale fraud last March 22. Russian prosecutors are seeking to move Navalny to a maximum-security penal colony for 13 years on charges of fraud and contempt of court.
Struthers said Navalny was continually exposed to psychological aggression, and moving him to a maximum-security prison had no grounds.
"The international community at large bears responsibility for not having put enough pressure on Russia during all these years of oppression, because it’s been a steady decline for at least 10 years and the world didn't take it seriously enough, which for us, means in part that this outcome was inescapable," Struthers said.