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A sign calls for Russian President Putin to be prosecuted by the ICC. A sign at a rally for Ukraine at the White House shows Russian President Vladimir Putin in prison and calls for him to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (NurPhoto by Allison Bailey via AP).

In Ukraine, Justice Is Possible for Wartime Rape Victims. But It Won’t Be Easy

Friday, May 6, 2022

Terrible stories are emerging from Ukraine about the mass rape of civilian women by Russian soldiers. Among the most notorious reports is one involving a group of teenage girls who were held captive in a basement in Bucha. Nine of them are now pregnant after multiple gang rapes. According to Ukraine’s ombudsman for human rights, Lyudmyla Denisova, “Russian soldiers told [the victims] they would rape them to the point where they wouldn’t want sexual contact with any man, to prevent them from having Ukrainian children.”

Currently, these are reports from officials of a nation at war, and must therefore be verified by independent observers before being treated as fact. But Human Rights Watch has also documented rape among the many crimes taking place in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine. If this new mass rape and forced pregnancy allegation is confirmed by independent human rights fact-checkers, it could constitute grounds to indict the soliders for crimes against humanity and even genocide. Rape is prohibited under the laws of war, and when carried out en masse against civilians, it is a crime against humanity. And taking measures to prevent births within a national group is one of several acts that can constitute genocide. ...

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