Russian Soldier Accused of Rape

Man faces eight to 12 years in prison if convicted and will be tried in absentia.

Russian Soldier Accused of Rape

Man faces eight to 12 years in prison if convicted and will be tried in absentia.

A young woman walks by a heavily damaged building in the Kyiv region.
A young woman walks by a heavily damaged building in the Kyiv region. © Alexey Furman/Getty Images
Tuesday, 7 February, 2023

A 20-year-old Russian soldier has been indicted for the rape of a woman and the abuse of other civilians in a Kyiv region village in March last year.

Artem Shemeniev is a soldier with the 15th Separate Guards Motorised Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Guards Army of the Central Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. He comes from the village of Novokhoperske, Voronezh region.

Shemeniev faces eight to 12 years in prison if convicted and will be tried in absentia.

According to the Brovary city-district court register, the accused appears in several criminal proceedings under Part 1 of Art 438 of the criminal code on the violation of the laws and customs of war. The materials concerning the rape case have been allocated to a separate proceeding.

The crime allegedly took place in a village of the Velyka Dymerka settlement territorial community, Brovary district, Kyiv region. 

In March 2022, the community spent about a month under Russian occupation. The prosecutors emphasised that the village where the crime took place was inhabited by civilians who did not take part in the armed conflict and could not resist the will of the occupiers.

According to the investigation, at lunchtime on March 10 three Russian soldiers, including Shemeniev, entered the territory of the victim's house. They ordered the woman's flatmate to kneel down. In violation of the convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war, Shemeniev fired a shot from a gun near the man’s head in order to demonstrate his superiority and to intimidate him.

According to information from the prosecutor general's office, the woman - a local nurse - was accused of cooperating with the armed forces of Ukraine, as was the man who lived with her.

The next day, Shemeniev returned and ordered the woman to dress, leave the house and follow him. The prosecution indicates that the victim did not perform and did not contribute to the performance of any combat tasks and was dressed in civilian clothes. She had no opportunity to resist and had to obey Shemeniev’s demands due to threats to her life and the lives of her family.

Shemeniev ordered the victim's flatmate to stay at home, and tried to place a grenade on the door of the house so that the man could not leave. He also ordered other Russian soldiers to guard the entrance to the house.

The accused took the woman to an abandoned house. According to the victim, there were many used condoms on the floor. Threatening her with physical violence, he forced her to undress and then raped her.

To intimidate the woman and make her comply with his wishes, Shemenev held a gun near her body and threatened her with it throughout. The woman was afraid to resist.

In order to avoid responsibility for the crime, the accused then ordered the victim not to tell anyone about the rape.

According to the security service of Ukraine, Shemeniev went to the Kursk region of the Russian Federation with his military unit at some point after March 30. From April 13, his unit was relocated to the occupied Donetsk region to continue armed aggression against Ukraine.

Shemeniev was declared wanted and the court granted permission for a special pre-trial investigation against him.

A preliminary court hearing on the case is scheduled to take place on February 10 in the Brovary city-district  court. According to Ukrainian legislation, the absentee review procedure involves several stages. 

In order to start consideration of the case on the merits, it is necessary to issue two or more summons for the accused and post announcements on the websites of the court and the prosecutor general as well as in the government newspaper. Having ascertained that the accused is evading justice, the judge must approve a request for a special trial and then proceed to consider the merits of the case.

Given the sensitivity of the case and in order to prevent the disclosure of information about the victim, the court case will be heard in closed session. This is how the first trial in Ukraine for rape as a war crime is proceeding in the Solomianskyi court of Kyiv against Russian soldier Mykhailo Romanov.

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