The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has recognized the deportation and forced transfer of Ukrainian children to the territory of the Russian Federation as genocide.
The relevant resolution was adopted at a PACE plenary session on Thursday, as reported on the PACE website.
PACE adopted a resolution entitled “Deportations and forcible transfers of Ukrainian children and other civilians to the Russian Federation or the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine: creating conditions for their safe return, stopping these crimes and punishing the perpetrators.”
PACE has called for the safe return of Ukrainian children who were forcibly taken to Russia or the territory it currently occupies, as well as the punishment of those accountable at all levels, pointing out that the documented proof of this conduct fits with the notion of genocide as it is understood by international law.
“The Assembly emphasizes that the forcible transfer of children from one group to another with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group constitutes a crime of genocide under Article 2(e) of the 1948 Genocide Convention, which coincides with the documented evidence of the deportation and forcible transfer of Ukrainian children to the Russian Federation or territories temporarily under Russian occupation,” the resolution says.
The document emphasizes that the illegal transfer of Ukrainians to the Russian Federation from the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions began even before the full-scale Russian aggression in the form of the deportation of children from orphanages and children with disabilities from specialized institutions.
The Assembly stated in a resolution based on a report by Paulo Pisco (Portugal, SOC) that there was evidence deported children had been subjected to a process of “russification” through re-education in Russian language, culture, and history, citing instances such as children being forbidden from speaking Ukrainian, being exposed to propaganda, and going to “patriotic” sites or receiving military training.
The PACE called on the International Criminal Court to consider prosecuting this crime.
“The Assembly also supports the need to thoroughly record, collect and evaluate evidence of the crime of genocide, as provided for in the Rome Statute and the Genocide Convention. The Assembly supports the investigation and prosecution of the state policy of forced displacement and deportation of Ukrainian children by the Russian Federation, as well as potential actions by Ukraine in the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice,” the document says.
As a reminder, the French Senate, the upper house of parliament, called on EU institutions and countries to collect evidence of the forced transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia and to impose sanctions on Russian officials involved in these crimes.