Ukraine: Russian soldiers may 'freeze to death' in winter says Clarke
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Russian soldiers have raped children as young as four, and grandparents as old as 85, in a horrific campaign of sexual abuse since the start of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, campaigners have warned. And with mounting evidence suggesting troops – including registered sex offenders – are systematically using sexual violence against women, men and children in the country, a groundbreaking new project is aiming to bring those responsible to justice.
The Sexual Violence Mobile Justice Team, launched by international human rights law firm and foundation, Global Rights Compliance, consists of international and Ukrainian leading prosecutors and investigators who can be deployed rapidly through the country to assist Ukraine’s investigators and prosecutors.
They will advise and support the documentation, investigation and prosecution of rape and other horrific abuse committed by Russian soldiers.
Wayne Jordash KC, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Global Rights Compliance, explained: “Putin’s forces are committing sexual violence crimes on a widespread scale.
“The evidence shows that Russian commanders are acquiescing, encouraging, and even ordering these sexual violence crimes.
The pattern of rape and other acts of sexual violence against innocent Ukrainian women, men and children suggests a desire to humiliate and terrorise civilians. Consistent with Putin and his forces stated attempt to strip a nation of its human and national identity, the crimes seem to be a deliberate attack on the very fabric of Ukraine’s society.”
Mr Jordash, who has been helping Ukraine investigate criminal activity under Russian occupation since 2015, added: “The formation of the Sexual Violence Mobile Justice Team is intended as another tool for the Ukrainian justice system to use to seek justice for Ukrainian survivors.
“Working at the behest of the Ukrainian authorities, we will work to ensure that those who suffer these terrible crimes are supported and that Putin’s men are brought to account.”
The team’s formation comes against a backdrop of mounting concerns that the documented ‘patterns’ of rape and sexual violence inflicted on illegally occupied peoples across Ukraine speaks to pre-planning on a more systematic level.
Evidence is emerging that children as young as four and grandparents as old as 85 have been subjected to rape and horrific sexual violence, according to Global Rights Compliance researchers.
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One mother, who chose to remain anonymous, told the Sexual Violence Mobile Justice Team she was raped while her five-year old child was in the next-door room.
In another village, Russian soldiers herded women into a basement, with the intention of raping them one by one.
Some perpetrators are likely to be convicted murderers and sex offenders who have been conscripted in exchange for pardons from President Putin.
A Global Rights Compliance spokesman said: “The new team will support the implementation of a victim- and witness-oriented approach to its operations, which is designed to support Ukraine’s response mechanisms to conflict-related sexual violence at every stage of the investigation.
This work will include assisting evidence-gathering by local authorities, supporting the analysis of this data with officials in the prosecutor’s office and enabling safe and secure support processes.”
The continuing development of effective Ukrainian conflict-related sexual violence policies and legislation is aimed at ensuring more perpetrators are brought to account and the largest number of innocent Ukrainian survivors possible receives the support and see the justice they deserve.
In a separate development, the UK is providing training to a group of 90 Ukrainian judges to help them carry out war crimes trials for Russian soldiers, it was announced yesterday.
With each town freed by the Ukrainian forces, the scale of the atrocities committed by Putin’s forces is becoming more apparent, and as part of a £2.5 million investment scheme, UK judges will offer their services to ensure such acts do not go unpunished.
Attorney General Victoria Prentis hoped the prosecution of Russian soldiers would convince those still fighting that they “must act in accordance with international law”.
Sir Howard Morrison, a British judge running the training said it was possible “senior Russians” could be brought in front of a tribunal.
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