Tuesday, 6 February ‘24

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 6 February ‘24

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 6 February, 2024
IWPR

IWPR

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

ICJ: Genocide Case Against Russia Can Go Forward

On February 2, judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the court has jurisdiction to hear a case Ukraine brought against Russia. Kyiv accuses Moscow of falsely using genocide law to justify the ongoing invasion. Russia says it intervened in Ukraine to prevent a genocide against ethnic Russians in the country’s eastern Donbas region. 

Kyiv, which brought the case to The Hague-based ICJ days after Russia invaded Ukraine, claims that Russia resorted to the 1948 Genocide Convention to justify the invasion. Russia asked not to proceed with the case, stating that Ukraine was trying to obtain a decision overruling what it considers a legitimate military operation.

Russian Commander Sentenced to Life for Killing Ukrainian Soldier

On January 29, the Chernihiv District Court sentenced Russian major Danilo Koblik in absentia to life imprisonment. The court found him guilty of violating the laws and customs of war in combination with intentional killing and cruel treatment of the civilian population based on a prior conspiracy by a group of persons (Part 1, 2 and 28 of Article 438 and Part 2 of Article 438 of the criminal code. 

In March 2022, the battalion of the 74th separate motorised rifle brigade under Koblik‘s command occupied Lukashivka, a village about 20 kilometres from the north-eastern city of Chernihiv. The 30-year-old commander and his subordinates found and arrested a Ukrainian soldier who was hiding among the villagers. They also detained two men and a boy. Koblik interrogated, threatened and tortured them.

During the interrogation, the accused shot and killed the captured Ukrainian soldier. According to the investigation, the murder violated the Geneva Conventions: at that time, the serviceman had been discharged from the army, was not participating in hostilities and had the right to protection as a prisoner of war. Koblik's defence has 30 days to appeal to the verdict.

Director of Russia’s Largest Rocket Manufacturer Issued Suspicion

Ukraine’s security service (SBU) informed in absentia the suspicion against Boris Obnosov, the sanctioned general director of the Russian Tactical Missile Armament corporation. The 71-year-old heads Russia's largest sanctioned holding company, which produces cruise missiles and guided aerial bombs for Russian units in Ukraine. 

Obnosov is suspected of aiding and abetting an aggressive war under Part 5 of Article 27 and Part 2 of Article 437 of the criminal code. According to SBU’s investigators, since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, more than 140 strikes have been carried out against civilian infrastructure and energy facilities by Kh-101 and Kh-555 cruise missiles alone. The SBU also stated that cruise and anti-ship missiles P-800 Onyx, Kh-22, Kh-32 and Kh-59, guided aerial bombs of the KAB-500 and KAB-1500 series produced by Obnosov’s manufacturer were also used to shell  Ukrainian settlements .

Russian Blogger Issued Suspicion for Public Calls for Genocide

Security service investigators (SBU) in the Kharkiv region reported Russian blogger Elvina Borovkovaunder in absentia for publicly calling for the genocide of Ukrainians. Borovkova, who lives in Yaroslavl, a city about 250 kilometres northeast of Moscow, is a well-known blogger with an audience of thousands on Telegram and TikTok. The 25-year-old reportedly praised the shelling of Kharkiv on February 22, 2023, when Russian troops used S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems. The next day, she called for a second strike to "finish the survivors". She also recorded and made public her address to the command of the Russian troops, in which she called on reducing Ukraine "to zero".

Russian Deputy Commander Sentenced for Looting

On December 8, 2023, the Kyiv-Sviatoshyn district court of the Kyiv region sentenced Russian serviceman Maksym Orekhov to 12 years for robbing civilians as per Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code on violating the laws and customs of war. 

According to the prosecution, the 31-year-old and a group of accomplices looted a house in Moshchun, a village in the Kyiv region, taking almost 58,000 hryvnias (1,500 US dollars). Among the stolen items were a video camera, a camera, gold earrings, cash and various sets of tools. In court, the owner said that from his hiding spot in the nearby forest he saw the Russian soldiers breaking into the building and taking the loot away in a wheelbarrow. Orekhov's passport was found among documents that Russians left behind when they fled the village and the victim identified him. 

The court also ruled that Orekhov should pay the victim 100,000 hryvnias ( 3,000 dollars) for material and moral damage. 

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