Genocide in Ukraine
Through speeches by political leaders and in television broadcasts that have blanketed the country (as well as new territories recently seized by force), the Kremlin has argued breathlessly that Ukrainian statehood is a historical accident weaponized by Russia’s enemies. This rhetoric, which essentially denies the existence of an independent Ukranian identity, has reached not only millions of civilians but also the Russian troops now in Ukraine, where journalists, the local authorities, and international observers have been documenting and cataloging these soldiers’ acts of violence against noncombatants.
As the world learns more about the atrocities committed against the Ukrainian people, Ukrainian law enforcement and officials throughout the West have begun the process of investigating, designating, and prosecuting these acts.
For a better understanding of this work and its challenges, The Naked Pravda spoke to four experts about war atrocities in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, focusing particularly on genocide as it’s understood both legally and in terms of history and politics. The scholars who joined this discussion:
- Erin Farrell Rosenberg, an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Law, and an attorney specializing in international criminal law and reparations
- Eugene Finkel, an associate professor of international affairs at Johns Hopkins University, and the author of “Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival during the Holocaust”
- Dirk Moses, a professor of Global Human Rights History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the author of “The Problems of Genocide: Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression,” and the senior editor of the “Journal of Genocide Research”
- Maria Varaki, a lecturer in international law at the War Studies Department at King’s College London, and the co-director of the War Crimes Research Group
Timestamps for the main sections of this episode:
- (4:15) The legal terms used to designate mass violence and crimes in warfare, and genocide’s special legacy
- (36:11) How war crimes and genocide are prosecuted, establishing genocidal intent, and upholding justice
- (1:04:21) The politics of genocide allegations, and the consequences of taking them seriously