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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): Just Security: Compilation of Countries’ Statements Calling Russian Actions in Ukraine “Genocide” Copy


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Since the start of the full-blown Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, world leaders[1] have used statements to convey their outrage and their views on the nature of Russia’s violations of international law. In particular, the question of “genocide” has sparked debate on the meaning and use of the term and its applicability to the case of Ukraine. Some leaders have unequivocally called Russian violence in Ukraine a genocide, while others have refrained.

In order to shed light on the global view of the issue of genocide designation in Ukraine, we have gathered all relevant public statements by State leaders or officials, dating from the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, 2022 to the present (readers are invited to submit any that we may have missed here). This resource tracks statements made in U.N. bodies, such as the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Human Rights Council; comments or statements from government leaders and heads of state on the subject; and official resolutions and statements from legislative bodies.

In these statements, it is not always clear whether officials are referring to the legally defined crime of genocide, or if they are employing a broader meaning of the term. The legal definition of “genocide” comes from Article II of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention):

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

(This definition is also replicated in the treaty for the International Criminal Court.)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has interpreted this definition narrowly, emphasizing the need to establish perpetrators’ specific genocidal intent, to the complete exclusion of other motives. Notably, the Convention’s definition of genocide excludes “cultural genocide”—i.e., the annihilation of a group’s identity by attacking cultural symbols, traditions, language, etc.—even though many commentators may use “genocide” more broadly to include such attacks. In fact, Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer who coined the term “genocide,” intended to include cultural genocide in his original definition. Therefore, government leaders may be using this broader meaning of genocide in their statements, instead of the narrower legal sense under the Genocide Convention.

Moreover, while official statements generally register in the frame of law, it is not always clear from the statement itself whether the speaker intends the words to track the Convention’s legal definition of genocide or instead a broader concept – an ambiguity that may be strategic. In the collected examples, some leaders explicitly note that their remarks reflect a personal opinion as opposed to a legal determination; in other cases, the leaders and officials are less transparent about their intent and the meaning they ascribe the term.

We hope that this collection will help to contextualize the current legal and policy debates on the use of the term “genocide” and the international processes for deploying this morally and legally weighty term.

Table of Contents

Part I
Whether to Call Russian Actions in Ukraine “Genocide” – Alphabetically by State/Organization

Part II
Whether to Call Russian Actions in Ukraine “Genocide” – Chronologically

Part I

Whether to Call Russian Actions in Ukraine “Genocide” – Alphabetically by State/Organization

Albania

March 29: Albanian representative Ferit Hoxha notes in the Security Council that the siege on Mariupol seems designed to eliminate its residents

“Mariupol, savagely battered into rubble and reduced to ashes, symbolizes the extreme brutality of the Russian invasion. In the words of the city’s mayor, Russia’s aim is to wipe the city off the face of the Earth, along with its inhabitants. There is a legal definition for that despicable practice.”

April 4: The Speaker of the Albanian Parliament Lindita Nikolla states:

“The mass killings of innocent people in Bucha and other regions of Ukraine show that the violence of the Russian army is escalating into forms of genocide. These horrific images, from which humanity seemed to be falling apart, make the international community’s intervention to stop the war in Ukraine more urgent. The Albanian Parliament strongly condemns these war crimes against the civilian population and calls for an independent international investigation.”

April 4: The President of the Republic of Albania tweets:

“Shocked by the atrocities of the [Russian] army in Bucha & other regions of [Ukraine]. Massacred civilians, mass graves & rapes are indisputable evidence of the genocide that [Russia] is committing in [Ukraine]. The international community must redouble its efforts to stop the Kremlin’s killing machine.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina

March 2: U.N. General Assembly, Eleventh Emergency Special Session, 4th Plenary Meeting, Representative of Bosnia-Herzegovina Sven Alkalaj compares his country’s genocide to the situation in Ukraine:

“What can be the message of the ambassador of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the country that suffered aggression, the brutal occupation for almost 4 years facing the arms trade embargo, where genocide was committed three decades ago, and almost half of the population was brutally killed, displaced, or expelled? The developing situation in Ukraine unfortunately resonates awfully close to home. That is why we should not wait any more.”

Canada

April 13: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“…there are official processes around determinations of genocide, but I think it’s absolutely right that more people be talking and using the word genocide in terms of what Russia is doing, what Vladimir Putin has done. The use of targeted attacks against civilians, against hospitals, against maternity wards, train stations filled with people fleeing, deliberate use of sexual violence against the Ukrainian population as a way of creating, ah, of creating horrific scenes, the way that they’re attacking Ukrainian identity and culture – these are all things that are war crimes, that Putin is responsible for, these are all things that are crimes against humanity, and that’s why Canada was one of the first countries to move forward at the International Criminal Court to hold Vladimir Putin and his cronies responsible for what’s going on in the illegal invasion of Ukraine…”

April 27: House of Commons

“By unanimous consent, it was resolved, — That, given that:

(a) there is clear and ample evidence of systematic and massive war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed against the people of Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, directed by President Vladimir Putin and others within the Russian parliament; and

(b) the crimes committed by the armed forces of the Russian Federation include:

(i) mass atrocities in the invaded and occupied Ukrainian territories,

(ii) systematic instances of willful killing of Ukrainian civilians and the desecration of corpses,

(iii) forcible transfer of Ukrainian children to the Russian territory,

(iv) torture and the imposition of life conditions causing grave suffering,

(v) widespread instances of physical harm, mental harm and rape,

the House recognize that the Russian Federation is committing acts of genocide against the Ukrainian people.”

Text of the resolution found on the House of Commons website and on Twitter account of Heather McPherson, MP for Edmonton Strathcona.

Colombia

 April 13: President Iván Duque

“What is happening in Ukraine is not an invasion. It’s a genocide. We have to keep on raising our voice against the genocide. This has to come to an end. And the whole world needs to put as much sanctions that are needed and definitely we all have to say, in a blunt and a very strong way, that if this doesn’t come to an end, more sanctions like never seen before have to be incorporated into the international system.”

Czech Republic

May 11: Senate Resolution in support of Ukraine

[translation via Google Translate]: “condemns […] ethnically motivated crimes against humanity, such as mass executions, disrespect for the dead, torture, rape, physical and mental violence or the violent deportation of children, which Russia has committed systematically and on a large scale, such as genocide against the Ukrainian people”

Full text of the statement in Czech

Estonia

March 2: Day 3 of UN Human Rights Council High-level Segment Eva-Maria Liimets, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia warns:

“The international community must send a strong and united political message explicitly condemning Russia’s illegal actions against peaceful Ukrainian population. Actions that look like as a precursor of the genocide.”

April 21: Statement of the Riigikogu (Estonian parliament) On the War Crimes and Genocide committed by the Russian Federation in Ukraine:

“In the temporarily occupied territories, in particular the towns of Bucha, Borodyanka, Hostomel, Irpin, Mariupol, and many other Ukrainian settlements, the Russian Federation has committed acts of genocide, inter alia mass atrocities against the civilian population. These have consisted of murders, enforced disappearances, deportations, imprisonment, torture, rape, and desecration of corpses…

Proceeding from the Declaration of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the national parliaments of the world; guided by the principles of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the standards of customary international law; keeping in mind the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and taking into account the responsibility invested in all the countries under international law to cooperate in order to end genocide and perpetration of crimes against humanity and war crimes, the Riigikogu:

  • Recognizes as genocide against the Ukrainian people the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and its political and military leadership in conducting the renewed military aggression against Ukraine from 24 February 2022;

  • Calls on national parliaments and international organisations to recognise the crimes committed by the Russian Federation against the Ukrainian people as genocide, to support the investigation of these crimes, the prosecution of the perpetrators and the establishment of an international court for this purpose in cooperation between countries”

Text of the full statement in Estonian downloadable from Riigikogu’s website

European Parliament and its Groups

April 5: The European Conservatives and Reformist Group (ECR Group) submits a Motion for a Resolution to wind up debate on the European Council meeting of March 24-25 addressing the war in Ukraine

“whereas after liberating territories in the Kyiv district, Ukrainians soldiers found evidence of mass executions of civilians in Bucha, Irmin, Hostomel and other towns and villages, which amount to genocide;

[…]

Is appalled by the war crimes committed by the Russian Federation in Ukraine, which amount to genocide, including those revealed after the liberation of Bucha and other places in Kyiv district, namely executions, rapes, abductions, forced displacement and looting, as well as indiscriminate shelling of civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, ambulances, schools, kindergartens and shelters; calls on the international community to continue documenting all instances of such crimes and to do whatever is necessary to bring those responsible to justice; recalls that in the event of war crimes and genocide, the international community is obliged to act and should use all tools at its disposal; calls for an urgent meeting of the European Council to discuss Russia’s war crimes and a new effective package of sanctions”

May 13: The European Conservatives and Reformist Group (ECR Group) within a Motion for a Resolution to wind up debate “on the fight against impunity for war crimes in Ukraine” within the European Parliament, notes:

“whereas the war crimes committed by the Russia Federation meet the definition of genocide as contained in Article II of the Genocide Convention;

[…]

whereas a special tribunal is a criminal court set up on an ad-hoc basis by the United Nations in order to investigate core international crimes – war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – in a specific conflict; whereas the Russian atrocities committed in Ukraine and the invasion by Russia as a whole fulfil all required criteria for the setting up of a special tribunal;”

May 17: The European People’s Party Group; the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Group; the Renew Group; the Greens/European Free Alliance Group; and the European Conservatives and Reformist Group, within a Joint Motion for a Resolution replacing the previous motions (including those of the ECR group),

“Calls for support to be given to the ICC Prosecutor in investigating and prosecuting suspected perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and, possibly, genocide, by providing political support, making available any evidence in their possession,

[…]

Calls for the EU institutions and the Member States to take all necessary action in international institutions and proceedings and at the ICC or other appropriate international tribunals or courts to support the prosecution of the Russian and Belarussian regimes for war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide and crimes of aggression;

[…]

Calls on the Member States to collect evidence and support an investigation of the ICC Prosecutor in order to establish whether the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russian forces and their proxies in Ukraine amount to genocide;

[…]

Welcomes the Commission’s proposal of 25 April 2022 to extend Eurojust’s mandate and operational functions with regard to the analysis, preservation and sharing of evidence in support of investigations and prosecutions of core international crimes, in particular genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and related criminal offences…”

May 19: The European Parliament passes a resolution on the fight against impunity for war crimes in Ukraine (2022/2655(RSP))

“Expresses its full support for the investigation launched by the ICC Prosecutor into alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide committed in Ukraine, for the work of the Commission of Inquiry of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and for the efforts of independent civil society organisations working to collect and preserve evidence of war crimes;

[…]

Calls for support to be given to the ICC Prosecutor in investigating and prosecuting suspected perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and, possibly, genocide, by providing political support, making available any evidence in their possession,

[…]

Calls for the EU institutions and the Member States to take all necessary action in international institutions and proceedings and at the ICC or other appropriate international tribunals or courts to support the prosecution of the Russian and Belarussian regimes for war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide and crimes of aggression;

[…]

Calls on the Member States to collect evidence and support an investigation of the ICC Prosecutor in order to establish whether the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russian forces and their proxies in Ukraine amount to genocide;

[…]

Welcomes the Commission’s proposal of 25 April 2022 to extend Eurojust’s mandate and operational functions with regard to the analysis, preservation and sharing of evidence in support of investigations and prosecutions of core international crimes, in particular genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and related criminal offences

France

April 13: President Emmanuel Macron – declines to use “genocide” when asked to comment on Biden’s remarks using the term, while saying that it has been established that Russian troops had committed war crimes in Ukraine:

“I am prudent with terms today. Genocide has a meaning. The Ukrainian people and Russian people are brotherly people. It’s madness what’s happening today. It’s unbelievable brutality and a return to war in Europe. But at the same time I look at the facts, and I want to continue to try the utmost to be able to stop the war and restore peace. I’m not sure if the escalation of words serves our cause.”

Ireland

April 8: Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Michéal Martin, in a tweet following an attack on a train station in eastern Ukraine:

“We utterly condemn the slaughter of innocent civilians at Kramatorsk train station today. The horrific attack is further evidence of the barbaric nature of Russia’s war on #Ukraine. This is genocide. And those responsible must be held to account.”

Kosovo

March 8: President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani says in an interview with HuffPost UK: 

“As a former professor of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, we know war crimes when we see it. The intention here is clear and the intention is the main elements of genocide. I believe that there is already a lot of evidence which international courts would use against Putin and against the Russian government for the crimes they are committing against Ukraine.”

April 4: Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosova Albin Kurti tweets:

“Mass-graves, people brutally killed with body parts missing, burned houses & cities turned to rubble are all familiar scenes from genocidal regimes. The perpetrators of the #BuchaMassacre must be brought to justice and Russia must be held accountable. #FreedomForUkraine”

Latvia

April 21: Statement of the Saeima (parliament) of the Republic of Latvia On the aggression and war crimes of the Russian Federation in Ukraine:

“The Saeima of the Republic of Latvia, …recognising that the tactics of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, that include Russian Armed Forces soldiers bombarding residential areas, community centres, passenger stations, and civilian infrastructure, as well as killing civilians, present obvious signs of war crimes and even crimes against humanity;

emphasising that the Russian Federation is also kidnapping and deporting Ukrainian citizens to the territory of the Russian Federation;

pointing out the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the Russian Federation in Mariupol, where the Russian military is preventing civilians from leaving the city or killing them while they try to escape, destroying the city infrastructure, food and grain warehouses, and is blocking food, medicines, and water deliveries, which has resulted in the death of thousands in Mariupol from starvation, thirst, or Russian weapons;

reminding of the events of 1932–1933, when, as a result of the planned and executed policy of the Soviet Union, grains and food were confiscated from Ukrainians, causing the Holodomor, a man-made famine, that took the lives of one-fifth of the Ukrainian population and is recognised by Latvia as a deliberate genocide by the Stalin regime against the people of Ukraine…

Emphasising that Latvia condemns all crimes against humanity and genocide, and acknowledges its duty to recognise, prevent, and commemorate such events to ensure that they never re-occur; […]

acknowledges that the Russian Federation is currently committing genocide against the people of Ukraine”

Text of the full resolution in Latvian

Lithuania

April 6: Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Seimas (parliament), in Statement on Condemning the Russian Federation’s Aggression and War Crimes in Ukraine, calls for the international community to label Russian crimes as genocide:

“[N]oting that the Russian Federation abducts Ukranian civilians and deports them to the Russian territory;

[C]alling on the international community to unanimously condemn Russia’s aggression and its war crimes against Ukraine and to identify the crimes against the Ukrainian population as a genocide of the Ukrainian nation”

[R]eminding … the international community that Russia had implemented a genocide against Ukraine back in 1932–1933 by consciously organising a famine known as Holodomor resulting in 14 million deaths of Ukrainian inhabitants”

May 10: The Seimas adopts a resolution recognizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide

From English press release: “The Seimas has unanimously adopted a resolution recognising the war waged by the Russian Federation against Ukraine as genocide of the Ukrainian people.”

[…]

“The Members of the Seimas also advocate the establishment of a Special International Criminal Tribunal to investigate and assess the crime of aggression committed by Russia against sovereign Ukraine and to prosecute the perpetrators through the concerted efforts of the international community and on the basis of the precedents known from history (Nuremberg, Tokyo, Sierra Leone and other special tribunals).”

[…]

“The Seimas states in the Resolution that the Russian Federation, whose military forces deliberately and systematically select civilian targets for bombing, is a state sponsor and perpetrator of terrorism.”

Full text of the statement in Lithuanian

Poland

March 23: The Sejm (parliament) of the Republic of Poland passes a resolution condemning “war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights violations by Russia in Ukraine”:

“The Sejm of the Republic of Poland strongly condemns the acts of constant violence, war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts of genocide, systemic violations of human rights and other criminal offenses against international law committed on the territory of sovereign Ukraine by the Russian Federation armed forces, together with its allies, at the behest of military commanders being under the direct authority of  President Vladimir Putin.

The Sejm of the Republic of Poland calls on all states that recognize the sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to self-determination by Ukraine to support, using all available means, the initiation and conduct of proceedings before the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, and to use their powers in all international organizations of which they are members, to hold Vladimir Putin, members of the Russian Security Council and commanders of the Russian Federation armed forces responsible for directing and committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts of genocide and systemic human rights
violations on the territory of sovereign Ukraine…”

April 3: Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, in a statement on Facebook:

“The crimes Russia has committed on close to 300 inhabitants of Bucha and other towns outside Kyiv must be called acts of genocide and be dealt with as such.”

April 6: President Andrzej Duda, asked whether he agrees with President Zelenskyy’s position that the crimes constitute genocide, said through a translator:

 “It is hard to deny this, of course. This is a crime which fulfills the features of a genocide, especially if you look at the context of different conversations that are being conducted. We hear about ‘denazification’ of Ukraine – it is nonsense, it is rubbish, it is an obvious Russian propaganda. This is looking for a false pretext in order to carry out a massacre, in order to kill people. And the fact that civilian inhabitants of Ukraine are being killed shows best what the goal of [the] Russian invasion is. The goal of that invasion is simply to extinguish the Ukrainian nation.”

Spain

April 4: Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, at an economic forum in Madrid, referencing the images of dead civilians discovered in Bucha:

“We will do everything possible to ensure that those who committed these crimes do not go unpunished and can appear before the International Criminal Court to respond to these alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes, and why not say it — genocide.”

United Kingdom

April 6: Prime Minister Boris Johnson, interviewed as new U.K. sanctions were being announced:

“I’m afraid when you look at what’s happening in Bucha, the revelations that we are seeing from what Putin has done in Ukraine – which, you know, doesn’t look far short of genocide to me – it is no wonder that people are responding in the way that they are. And I have no doubt that the international community… will be moving in lockstep to impose more sanctions.”

 United States

April 6: Sen. Chuck Schumer, in a statement for the record as the Senate suspended normal trade relations with Russia:

 “This is genocide when you murder, wantonly, innocent civilians because of who they are. Whether it be their religion, their race, or their nationality, that is genocide, and Mr. Putin is guilty of it.”

April 12: President Joe Biden, delivering prepared remarks on inflation, high gas prices, infrastructure and social spending in Menlo, Iowa:

“Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide a half a world away.”

Asked about the characterization by reporters later, Biden replied,

“Yes, I called it genocide. It has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being — being able to be Ukrainian.  And the amount — the evidence is mounting.  It’s different than it was last week.  The — more evidence is coming out of the — literally, the horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine. And we’re going to only learn more and more about the devastation. And we’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.”

April 13: U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Ambassador Michael Carter clarifies Biden’s statement:

“President Biden was very clear calling the events in Ukraine genocide due to increasing evidence that President Putin is trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian, as you noted. This desire to destroy the Ukrainian people has been seen in the horrific images of Russia’s barbaric treatment of civilians in areas that were previously under Russian control. It is also evidenced in the speeches of Russian Government leaders and press articles appearing in the Russian media that deny Ukraine the right to exist as an independent state.

So as President Biden concluded, it will be up to the international law experts to determine if the actions meet the legal definition of genocide under the Genocide Convention, and a legal review based on meticulous collection of evidence is underway. That’s going to take some time to be completed, but in the meantime, the President has been – has made a very clear moral determination on this issue.”

May 12: Sen. Ben Cardin and Amb. Beth Van Schaack, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice, in Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing, “U.S. Efforts to Support Ukraine Against Russian Aggression:”

 Sen. Ben Cardin:

“The testimonies are now clear that Russia has deported a substantial amount of Ukrainians to Russia. Maybe as many as a million, that’s their count, maybe as many as 200,000 children. These are not evacuees. These are forced deportations in an effort to wipe out the Ukrainian culture. That’s genocide. When will the international community come together to recognize that this is not just war crimes that have been committed, which are horrible in themselves by individual soldiers, but a plan to wipe out the culture of a country and requires a response that is equal to that charge?”

 Amb. Van Schaack:

“Thank you, Senator. I share your outrage in what we’re seeing out of Ukraine in terms of the direct attacks against civilians with the use of sexual violence, the deportations forced of civilians, we’re also seeing information about individuals who are in custody of Russian forces who are being subjected to summary execution and torture. So the list is long. As you know, President Biden shares your view about this constituting genocide, and he also raised the point that this is a legal determination that is difficult to do, that the key element of the crime of genocide is this intent to destroy a group in whole or in part, and some of the genocidal rhetoric that we’re hearing out of Russia is extremely worrying in this regard.”

Return to Table of Contents

Part II

Whether to Call Russian Actions in Ukraine “Genocide” – Chronologically

March 2: Day 3 of U.N. Human Rights Council High-level Segment, Eva-Maria Liimets, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia warns:

“The international community must send a strong and united political message explicitly condemning Russia’s illegal actions against peaceful Ukrainian population. Actions that look like as a precursor of the genocide.”

March 2: U.N. General Assembly, Eleventh Emergency Special Session, 4th Plenary Meeting, Representative of Bosnia-Herzegovina Sven Alkalaj compares his country’s genocide to the situation in Ukraine:

“What can be the message of the ambassador of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the country that suffered aggression, the brutal occupation for almost 4 years facing the arms trade embargo, where genocide was committed three decades ago, and almost half of the population was brutally killed, displaced, or expelled? The developing situation in Ukraine unfortunately resonates awfully close to home. That is why we should not wait any more.”

March 8: President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani says in an interview with HuffPost UK: 

“As a former professor of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, we know war crimes when we see it. The intention here is clear and the intention is the main elements of genocide. I believe that there is already a lot of evidence which international courts would use against Putin and against the Russian government for the crimes they are committing against Ukraine.”

March 23: The Sejm (parliament) of the Republic of Poland passes a resolution condemning “war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights violations by Russia in Ukraine”:

“The Sejm of the Republic of Poland strongly condemns the acts of constant violence, war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts of genocide, systemic violations of human rights and other criminal offenses against international law committed on the territory of sovereign Ukraine by the Russian Federation armed forces, together with its allies, at the behest of military commanders being under the direct authority of  President Vladimir Putin.

The Sejm of the Republic of Poland calls on all states that recognize the sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to self-determination by Ukraine to support, using all available means, the initiation and conduct of proceedings before the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, and to use their powers in all international organizations of which they are members, to hold Vladimir Putin, members of the Russian Security Council and commanders of the Russian Federation armed forces responsible for directing and committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts of genocide and systemic human rights
violations on the territory of sovereign Ukraine…”

March 29: U.N. Security Council, Albanian representative Ferit Hoxha notes that the siege on Mariupol seems designed to eliminate its residents:

“Mariupol, savagely battered into rubble and reduced to ashes, symbolizes the extreme brutality of the Russian invasion. In the words of the city’s mayor, Russia’s aim is to wipe the city off the face of the Earth, along with its inhabitants. There is a legal definition for that despicable practice.”

April 3: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, in a statement on Facebook:

“The crimes Russia has committed on close to 300 inhabitants of Bucha and other towns outside Kyiv must be called acts of genocide and be dealt with as such.”

April 4: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, at an economic forum in Madrid, referencing the images of dead civilians discovered in Bucha:

“We will do everything possible to ensure that those who committed these crimes do not go unpunished and can appear before the International Criminal Court to respond to these alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes, and why not say it — genocide.”

April 4: Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosova Albin Kurti tweets:

“Mass-graves, people brutally killed with body parts missing, burned houses & cities turned to rubble are all familiar scenes from genocidal regimes. The perpetrators of the #BuchaMassacre must be brought to justice and Russia must be held accountable. #FreedomForUkraine”

April 4: The President of the Republic of Albania tweets:

“Shocked by the atrocities of the [Russian] army in Bucha & other regions of [Ukraine]. Massacred civilians, mass graves & rapes are indisputable evidence of the genocide that [Russia] is committing in [Ukraine]. The international community must redouble its efforts to stop the Kremlin’s killing machine.”

April 5: The European Conservatives and Reformist Group (ECR Group) submits a Motion in the European Parliament for a Resolution to wind up debate on the European Council meeting of March 24-25 addressing the war in Ukraine

“whereas after liberating territories in the Kyiv district, Ukrainians soldiers found evidence of mass executions of civilians in Bucha, Irmin, Hostomel and other towns and villages, which amount to genocide;

[…]

Is appalled by the war crimes committed by the Russian Federation in Ukraine, which amount to genocide, including those revealed after the liberation of Bucha and other places in Kyiv district, namely executions, rapes, abductions, forced displacement and looting, as well as indiscriminate shelling of civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, ambulances, schools, kindergartens and shelters; calls on the international community to continue documenting all instances of such crimes and to do whatever is necessary to bring those responsible to justice; recalls that in the event of war crimes and genocide, the international community is obliged to act and should use all tools at its disposal; calls for an urgent meeting of the European Council to discuss Russia’s war crimes and a new effective package of sanctions”

April 6: Lithuanian Committee on Foreign Affairs of Seimas (parliament), in Statement on Condemning the Russian Federation’s Aggression and War Crimes in Ukraine, calls for the international community to label Russian crimes as genocide:

“[N]oting that the Russian Federation abducts Ukrainian civilians and deports them to the Russian territory;

[C]alling on the international community to unanimously condemn Russia’s aggression and its war crimes against Ukraine and to identify the crimes against the Ukrainian population as a genocide of the Ukrainian nation”

[R]eminding … the international community that Russia had implemented a genocide against Ukraine back in 1932–1933 by consciously organising a famine known as Holodomor resulting in 14 million deaths of Ukrainian inhabitants”

April 6: Polish President Andrzej Duda, asked whether he agrees with President Zelenskyy’s position that the crimes constitute genocide, said through a translator:

“It is hard to deny this, of course. This is a crime which fulfills the features of a genocide, especially if you look at the context of different conversations that are being conducted. We hear about ‘denazification’ of Ukraine – it is nonsense, it is rubbish, it is an obvious Russian propaganda. This is looking for a false pretext in order to carry out a massacre, in order to kill people. And the fact that civilian inhabitants of Ukraine are being killed shows best what the goal of [the] Russian invasion is. The goal of that invasion is simply to extinguish the Ukrainian nation.”

April 6: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, interviewed as new U.K. sanctions were being announced:  

“I’m afraid when you look at what’s happening in Bucha, the revelations that we are seeing from what Putin has done in Ukraine – which, you know, doesn’t look far short of genocide to me – it is no wonder that people are responding in the way that they are. And I have no doubt that the international community… will be moving in lockstep to impose more sanctions.”

April 6: U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, in a statement for the record as the Senate suspended normal trade relations with Russia:

“This is genocide when you murder, wantonly, innocent civilians because of who they are. Whether it be their religion, their race, or their nationality, that is genocide, and Mr. Putin is guilty of it.”

 April 8: Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Michéal Martin, in a tweet following an attack on a train station in eastern Ukraine:

“We utterly condemn the slaughter of innocent civilians at Kramatorsk train station today. The horrific attack is further evidence of the barbaric nature of Russia’s war on #Ukraine. This is genocide. And those responsible must be held to account.”

April 12: U.S. President Joe Biden, delivering prepared remarks on inflation, high gas prices, infrastructure and social spending in Menlo, Iowa:

“Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide a half a world away.”

Asked about the characterization by reporters later, Biden replied,

“Yes, I called it genocide. It has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being — being able to be Ukrainian.  And the amount — the evidence is mounting.  It’s different than it was last week.  The — more evidence is coming out of the — literally, the horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine. And we’re going to only learn more and more about the devastation. And we’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.”

April 13: U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Ambassador Michael Carter clarifies Biden’s statement:

“President Biden was very clear calling the events in Ukraine genocide due to increasing evidence that President Putin is trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian, as you noted. This desire to destroy the Ukrainian people has been seen in the horrific images of Russia’s barbaric treatment of civilians in areas that were previously under Russian control. It is also evidenced in the speeches of Russian Government leaders and press articles appearing in the Russian media that deny Ukraine the right to exist as an independent state.

So as President Biden concluded, it will be up to the international law experts to determine if the actions meet the legal definition of genocide under the Genocide Convention, and a legal review based on meticulous collection of evidence is underway. That’s going to take some time to be completed, but in the meantime, the President has been – has made a very clear moral determination on this issue.”

April 13: French President Emmanuel Macron declines to use “genocide” when asked to comment on Biden’s remarks using the term, while saying that it has been established that Russian troops had committed war crimes in Ukraine:

“I am prudent with terms today. Genocide has a meaning. The Ukrainian people and Russian people are brotherly people. It’s madness what’s happening today. It’s unbelievable brutality and a return to war in Europe. But at the same time I look at the facts, and I want to continue to try the utmost to be able to stop the war and restore peace. I’m not sure if the escalation of words serves our cause.”

April 13: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

“…there are official processes around determinations of genocide, but I think it’s absolutely right that more people be talking and using the word genocide in terms of what Russia is doing, what Vladimir Putin has done. The use of targeted attacks against civilians, against hospitals, against maternity wards, train stations filled with people fleeing, deliberate use of sexual violence against the Ukrainian population as a way of creating, ah, of creating horrific scenes, the way that they’re attacking Ukrainian identity and culture – these are all things that are war crimes, that Putin is responsible for, these are all things that are crimes against humanity, and that’s why Canada was one of the first countries to move forward at the International Criminal Court to hold Vladimir Putin and his cronies responsible for what’s going on in the illegal invasion of Ukraine…”

 April 13: Colombian President Iván Duque:

“What is happening in Ukraine is not an invasion. It’s a genocide. We have to keep on raising our voice against the genocide. This has to come to an end. And the whole world needs to put as much sanctions that are needed and definitely we all have to say, in a blunt and a very strong way, that if this doesn’t come to an end, more sanctions like never seen before have to be incorporated into the international system.

April 21: Estonian Riigikogu (parliament) Statement of the Riigikogu On the War Crimes and Genocide committed by the Russian Federation in Ukraine:

“In the temporarily occupied territories, in particular the towns of Bucha, Borodyanka, Hostomel, Irpin, Mariupol, and many other Ukrainian settlements, the Russian Federation has committed acts of genocide, inter alia mass atrocities against the civilian population. These have consisted of murders, enforced disappearances, deportations, imprisonment, torture, rape, and desecration of corpses…

Proceeding from the Declaration of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the national parliaments of the world; guided by the principles of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the standards of customary international law; keeping in mind the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and taking into account the responsibility invested in all the countries under international law to cooperate in order to end genocide and perpetration of crimes against humanity and war crimes, the Riigikogu:

  • Recognizes as genocide against the Ukrainian people the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and its political and military leadership in conducting the renewed military aggression against Ukraine from 24 February 2022;

  • Calls on national parliaments and international organisations to recognise the crimes committed by the Russian Federation against the Ukrainian people as genocide, to support the investigation of these crimes, the prosecution of the perpetrators and the establishment of an international court for this purpose in cooperation between countries”

Text of the full statement in Estonian downloadable from Riigikogu’s website

April 21: Latvian Saeima (parliament) Statement of the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia On the aggression and war crimes of the Russian Federation in Ukraine:

“The Saeima of the Republic of Latvia, …recognising that the tactics of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, that include Russian Armed Forces soldiers bombarding residential areas, community centres, passenger stations, and civilian infrastructure, as well as killing civilians, present obvious signs of war crimes and even crimes against humanity;

emphasising that the Russian Federation is also kidnapping and deporting Ukrainian citizens to the territory of the Russian Federation;

pointing out the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the Russian Federation in Mariupol, where the Russian military is preventing civilians from leaving the city or killing them while they try to escape, destroying the city infrastructure, food and grain warehouses, and is blocking food, medicines, and water deliveries, which has resulted in the death of thousands in Mariupol from starvation, thirst, or Russian weapons;

reminding of the events of 1932–1933, when, as a result of the planned and executed policy of the Soviet Union, grains and food were confiscated from Ukrainians, causing the Holodomor, a man-made famine, that took the lives of one-fifth of the Ukrainian population and is recognised by Latvia as a deliberate genocide by the Stalin regime against the people of Ukraine…

Emphasising that Latvia condemns all crimes against humanity and genocide, and acknowledges its duty to recognise, prevent, and commemorate such events to ensure that they never re-occur; […]

acknowledges that the Russian Federation is currently committing genocide against the people of Ukraine”

Text of the full resolution in Latvian

April 27: Canadian House of Commons

“By unanimous consent, it was resolved, — That, given that:

(a) there is clear and ample evidence of systematic and massive war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed against the people of Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, directed by President Vladimir Putin and others within the Russian parliament; and

(b) the crimes committed by the armed forces of the Russian Federation include:

(i) mass atrocities in the invaded and occupied Ukrainian territories,

(ii) systematic instances of willful killing of Ukrainian civilians and the desecration of corpses,

(iii) forcible transfer of Ukrainian children to the Russian territory,

(iv) torture and the imposition of life conditions causing grave suffering,

(v) widespread instances of physical harm, mental harm and rape,

the House recognize that the Russian Federation is committing acts of genocide against the Ukrainian people.”

Text of the resolution found on Parliament’s website and on Twitter account of Heather McPherson, MP for Edmonton Strathcona.

May 10: Lithuanian Seimas (parliament)

From English press release: “The Seimas has unanimously adopted a resolution recognising the war waged by the Russian Federation against Ukraine as genocide of the Ukrainian people.”

[…]

The Members of the Seimas also advocate the establishment of a Special International Criminal Tribunal to investigate and assess the crime of aggression committed by Russia against sovereign Ukraine and to prosecute the perpetrators through the concerted efforts of the international community and on the basis of the precedents known from history (Nuremberg, Tokyo, Sierra Leone and other special tribunals).”

[…]

The Seimas states in the Resolution that the Russian Federation, whose military forces deliberately and systematically select civilian targets for bombing, is a state sponsor and perpetrator of terrorism.”

Full text of the statement in Lithuanian

Press release in English

May 11: Czech Senate passes a resolution urging government to recognize genocide in Ukraine

[translation via Google Translate] “condemns […] ethnically motivated crimes against humanity, such as mass executions, disrespect for the dead, torture, rape, physical and mental violence or the violent deportation of children, which Russia has committed systematically and on a large scale, such as genocide against the Ukrainian people”

Full text of the statement in Czech

May 12: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and Amb. Beth Van Schaack, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice, in U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing, “U.S. Efforts to Support Ukraine Against Russian Aggression:”

 Sen. Ben Cardin:

“The testimonies are now clear that Russia has deported a substantial amount of Ukrainians to Russia. Maybe as many as a million, that’s their count, maybe as many as 200,000 children. These are not evacuees. These are forced deportations in an effort to wipe out the Ukrainian culture. That’s genocide. When will the international community come together to recognize that this is not just war crimes that have been committed, which are horrible in themselves by individual soldiers, but a plan to wipe out the culture of a country and requires a response that is equal to that charge?”

 Amb. Van Schaack:

“Thank you, Senator. I share your outrage in what we’re seeing out of Ukraine in terms of the direct attacks against civilians with the use of sexual violence, the deportations forced of civilians, we’re also seeing information about individuals who are in custody of Russian forces who are being subjected to summary execution and torture. So the list is long. As you know, President Biden shares your view about this constituting genocide, and he also raised the point that this is a legal determination that is difficult to do, that the key element of the crime of genocide is this intent to destroy a group in whole or in part, and some of the genocidal rhetoric that we’re hearing out of Russia is extremely worrying in this regard.

 May 13: The ECR Group within a Motion for a Resolution to wind up debate “on the fight against impunity for war crimes in Ukraine” within the European Parliament, notes:

“whereas the war crimes committed by the Russia Federation meet the definition of genocide as contained in Article II of the Genocide Convention;

[…]

whereas a special tribunal is a criminal court set up on an ad-hoc basis by the United Nations in order to investigate core international crimes – war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – in a specific conflict; whereas the Russian atrocities committed in Ukraine and the invasion by Russia as a whole fulfil all required criteria for the setting up of a special tribunal;”

May 17: The European People’s Party Group; the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Group; the Renew Group; the Greens/European Free Alliance Group; and the ECR Group, within a Joint Motion for a Resolution in the European Parliament replacing the previous motions (including those of the ECR group),

“Calls for support to be given to the ICC Prosecutor in investigating and prosecuting suspected perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and, possibly, genocide, by providing political support, making available any evidence in their possession,

[…]

Calls for the EU institutions and the Member States to take all necessary action in international institutions and proceedings and at the ICC or other appropriate international tribunals or courts to support the prosecution of the Russian and Belarussian regimes for war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide and crimes of aggression;

[…]

Calls on the Member States to collect evidence and support an investigation of the ICC Prosecutor in order to establish whether the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russian forces and their proxies in Ukraine amount to genocide;

[…]

Welcomes the Commission’s proposal of 25 April 2022 to extend Eurojust’s mandate and operational functions with regard to the analysis, preservation and sharing of evidence in support of investigations and prosecutions of core international crimes, in particular genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and related criminal offences…”

May 19: The European Parliament passes a resolution on the fight against impunity for war crimes in Ukraine (2022/2655(RSP))

“Expresses its full support for the investigation launched by the ICC Prosecutor into alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide committed in Ukraine, for the work of the Commission of Inquiry of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and for the efforts of independent civil society organisations working to collect and preserve evidence of war crimes;

[…]

Calls for support to be given to the ICC Prosecutor in investigating and prosecuting suspected perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and, possibly, genocide, by providing political support, making available any evidence in their possession,

[…]

Calls for the EU institutions and the Member States to take all necessary action in international institutions and proceedings and at the ICC or other appropriate international tribunals or courts to support the prosecution of the Russian and Belarussian regimes for war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide and crimes of aggression;

[…]

Calls on the Member States to collect evidence and support an investigation of the ICC Prosecutor in order to establish whether the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russian forces and their proxies in Ukraine amount to genocide;

[…]

Welcomes the Commission’s proposal of 25 April 2022 to extend Eurojust’s mandate and operational functions with regard to the analysis, preservation and sharing of evidence in support of investigations and prosecutions of core international crimes, in particular genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and related criminal offences

Return to Table of Contents

With thanks to Tess Graham for editorial and research support, and to Luís de Matos Ribeiro for contributing to the completeness of the list.

 

[1] We have excluded statements from Ukrainian officials from this compilation, given their number.

Image: People react as they gather close to a mass grave in the town of Bucha, just northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on April 3, 2022. – President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of committing genocide and attempting to eliminate the “whole nation” of Ukraine, a day after the discovery of mass graves and apparently executed civilians near Kyiv. (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

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