Submission to the ICC on war crimes committed in Mariupol

On 28 August 2023, Mykhailo Romanov, a participant in the projects Gulagechoes and Yugoslav Prison Nationalism, participated in the presentation and discussion of a submission to the International Criminal Court regarding the crime of genocide that may have been committed in Mariupol, Ukraine.

As is well known, this city was almost completely destroyed at the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian armed forces.

Dr. Romanov is one of the co-authors of the submission. Together with colleagues, they collected information and data on the events that took place during the capture and destruction of the city. Relying on the provisions of the Rome Statute, they substantiated the existence of three criminal acts that were probably committed by the Russian armed forces in Mariupol.

These are the killing of members of a protected group; the deliberate creation for such a group of living conditions calculated to bring about its total or partial physical destruction; and the forcible transfer of children of that group to another group. The submission contains a description of the elements of these acts, as well as the evidence that the authors were able to collect.

As Romanov notes, the possibilities to collect such evidence were limited due to the inaccessibility of the territory of the city of Mariupol and to the direct victims of these acts. For this reason, much of the material included in the presentation is based on open source data.

The authors realized this and therefore adhered to the existing OSINT standards when collecting information. However, some of the information is also based on interviews with direct victims.

Despite the inaccessibility of the site where these acts were committed, indirect data allow us to conclude that the number of victims among the civilian population of Mariupol is in the thousands. It is this number of likely victims, as well as the general context and methods of the captured of the city, which allowed the authors of the submission to raise the issue of the crime of genocide in Mariupol.