Statement by representative of the Russian Federation Mr.Sergey Leonidchenko at UNSC Arria-formula meeting "Ensuring accountability for atrocities committed in Ukraine"
Many of the participants of this meeting praised the ICC, which is interesting since at least two of the co-sponsors of today’s meeting – the US and the UK – did everything imaginable to shield their own military from the ICC’s reach. Both countries developed protective legislation. American law went so far that it was nicknamed among Western legal professionals as the “Hague invasion act”. Political pressure, financial leverage and even imposing personal sanctions on the ICC prosecutor – all this led to the desired outcome: investigations into war crimes committed by soldiers of these countries in Iraq and Afghanistan were “de-prioritized” by ICC. This is a rather sophisticated term for a simple thing, namely, “not doing anything”. This perfectly illustrates both the real degree of ICC’s “impartiality and objectivity” as well as hypocrisy of US and UK who all of a sudden started to support the Court and pour millions of dollars there as “donations”. Such an attitude turns justice into farce: paid-for verdicts by paid-for Court.
International perception of ICC’s role and stance was well demonstrated by Ukraine. Its declaration on acceptance of its jurisdiction dated 8 September 2015 represents an ill-famous attempt not only to limit the Court’s jurisdiction, but also to assign the blame in advance – before a formal investigation even started. Like we said – ICC is a merely political instrument and has nothing in common with justice.
In light of today’s remarks of the High Commissioner for Human Rights we would like to note that it has become a tradition for various fact-finding missions established by OHCHR to conduct their business without physical presence in the respective country. In this regard, their methods of work presuppose reliance on information provided by NGOs as well as available in the open domain – i.e. in the Internet. When working in this manner, it is literally impossible to distinguish between the truth and myriads of fakes. We would be hesitant to draw any conclusions based on information of that quality.
Today we also heard about the role of NGOs and civil society. This role has indeed been very prominent – the West mobilized a real fake-news factory to produce new lies 24/7 to create a parallel reality of what is happening in Ukraine. All of the fakes mentioned today were refuted multiple times. By the way, Bucha provocation got a new twist: according to “The Guardian” most victims were not “cold-bloodedly shot” as it had been claimed for at least 3 weeks already but rather killed by artillery anti-personnel shells filled with small darts, called flechettes (French word that stands for a “small arrow”). It is the same type that Ukraine has been using to bombard Donbass since 2014. There is a lot of evidence about that on the Internet. It seems that Western media will have to forget the word “Bucha” just as quickly as they forgot and banned the word “Kramatorsk”. It was another prominent fake – everyone from day 1 had been confidently blaming Russia for a missile strike on a railway station killing 50 and injuring 100 civilians until the serial number of the missile surfaced in social networks, identifying it beyond any doubt as Ukrainian, used by the same military unit that bombarded civilian targets in Donbass. Anyone is raising the issue about Ukraine’s accountability for Kramatorsk now? Any NGOs or civil society or mainstream media? Complete and shameful or rather shameless silence. And so we thought.
What we heard today was another portion of unsubstantiated claims and even fakes seasoned with lies, hypocrisy and pompous rhetoric. If you want to learn the truth about real situation on the ground – come to our “Arria-formula” meeting on May 6 – we plan to give the floor to some independent voices, working on the frontline to demonstrate you facts, not fakes.
Lastly, I would like to stress: the flow of fake news will not shield Ukrainian Neo-Nazis, foreign mercenaries and their sponsors from accountability for heinous crimes. Multiple witness statements and evidence to that effect are being collected right now across Ukraine, including in Mariupol.
Witnesses confirm i.a. routine military use by Ukrainian military and nationalist battalions of schools and even kindergartens, as well as other civilian objects. Ukrainian military are not ashamed to do that. They post photos of their military positions online. I used to collect such posts as evidence but stopped doing this because they were way too numerous and just keep coming. Ukrainian military and nationalist battalions also routinely use civilians as a human shield – to the extent comparable only to ISIL’s tactics. But here it is even worse, because Ukrainian military are doing that to their compatriots.
Yes, torture centers in 21st century are truly unthinkable. But there is a lot of factual evidence, as well as witness statements about an SBU-operated secret torture center in the Mariupol airport. It was cynically named “the library”. It was created in 2014, when Azov battalion moved into Mariupol. This specific center was used to torture, rape, and kill “the books” – that is how neo-Nazis called prisoners there – ordinary civilians suspected of not being loyal to the Kiev regime. Rest assured, perpetrators of these and all other heinous crimes will be brought to justice. None will escape personal responsibility. Denazification of Ukraine will be completed.