Russian military commanders ordered soldiers to commit sexual violence in Ukraine, war crimes investigator says

Russian military commanders ordered soldiers to commit sexual violence in Ukraine, war crimes investigator says
Ukraine protestors
Demonstrators outside Downing Street protesting against war atrocities targeting civilians, including killings and rape, by Russian military in Ukraine, on April 10, 2022.Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
  • Russian commanders are aware of sexual violence committed by soldiers, says war crimes investigator.

  • In some case they even condoned it or ordered it, lawyer Wayne Jordash told Reuters.

  • The UN has documented dozens of alleged cases of rape by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Russian commanders knew about sexual violence committed by their personnel in Ukraine and in some cases condoned or even ordered it, a war crimes investigator has said.

Wayne Jordash, a British lawyer who is assisting investigators as they gather evidence of atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, told Reuters that some of the sexual violence committed "speaks to planning on a more systematic level."

Jordash declined to provide specific names of those he believed to be involved, reported Reuters, and said that the extent of sexual violence was unknown at this stage because of ongoing investigations in parts of northeastern and south Ukraine recently retaken by Ukrainian forces.

However, the patterns suggest that sexual violence "may be even more frequent" in territories that were occupied for longer periods, he told Reuters.

A UN-mandated investigation published last month claimed that Russian forces had committed widespread sexual violence in Ukraine since the invasion began in February, with victims ranging in age from four to 80 years old.

"Sexual violence has affected victims of all ages. Victims, including children, were sometimes forced to witness the crimes," the report said.

Reuters said it had interviewed more than 20 people who worked with alleged victims, as well as one victim and the family members of another. According to their accounts there were overlapping similarities, with attacks taking place at gunpoint, with family members forced to watch, and multiple soldiers participating.

US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack said this week that the "systemic" nature of Russian atrocities in Ukraine suggested that they were being condoned by senior figures in the Kremlin.

Jordash, in an interview with Insider earlier this year, said that evidence was emerging that atrocities by Russian forces in Ukraine constituted genocide.

Russia has denied its forces have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity.

However, organizations including the International Criminal Court are investigating allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

Read the original article on Business Insider