Disinfo: International Criminal Court demonises Russia in the Ukrainian conflict

Summary

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is trying not only to make Russia a participant in the conflict but also to impose on Russia the duties of an “occupying power” both in relation to Crimea (she directly writes: “Russia’s annexation of Crimea”) and in relation to the eastern regions of Ukraine.

The prosecutor fulfils an order for the legal demonisation of Russia in the Ukrainian conflict. And she does it legally so rudely that there is no doubt about the unscrupulous nature of her actions.

The individuals who committed a coup d’etat in the country and used violence against a part of their own population are regarded in The Hague as legitimate authority!

Disproof

This is an example of recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Ukraine and, in particular, the examination by the International Criminal Court of the crimes committed in Ukraine during the 2013-2014 protests in Crimea and Donbas.

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) did not demonise Russia. The Prosecutor did not call Russia an occupying power in Crimea or Donbas. In the statement, the Prosecutor mentioned that in order to establish the truth, the ICC is going to cooperate with the authorities of Ukraine and Russia equally.

The Prosecutor announced that the stage of a preliminary examination of the situation in Ukraine that opened on 24 April 2014, is over. The Prosecutor's Office has concluded that there is a reasonable basis at this time to believe that a broad range of conduct constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the Court has been committed in the context of the situation in Ukraine. Therefore, it was established that the statutory criteria for opening investigations into the situation in Ukraine are met.

The Prosecutor also stated that all the findings of the preliminary examination will be spelt out in more detail in ICC's annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities.

Previously, the Office of the Prosecutor informed on the progress in annual reports. The report for 2019 informed that the Prosecutor shall deliver the conclusion by the end of 2020.

The International Criminal Court acts in accordance with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Article 53 clearly defines the reasons when an investigation is initiated. One of them states that an investigation opens if there is "a reasonable basis to believe that a crime [...] has been or is being committed".

See similar disinformation cases with respect to the ICC: that the Hague court did not recognise the sovereignty of Ukraine over Crimea, that the Hague court recognised Crimea as Russian, or that the advance of ISIS in Africa is supported by the International Criminal Court.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 225
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 13/12/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: International Criminal Court, Eastern Ukraine, Anti-Russian, War in Ukraine, Donbas, Crimea

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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The West tacitly admits that Crimea belongs to Russia, as proven by firms operating there

Western firms are slowly entering Crimea, and sanctions are no obstacle. The situation of Austrian architects Coop Himmelblau, which took part in the construction of the Sevastopol Opera, only showed that the West has adopted for a long time the tacit consent that Crimea belongs to Russia after the peninsula was reunited with the country in 2014 amidst a coup in Kyiv and following a referendum. Western countries, along with Ukraine, don’t recognise Crimea as Russian, but this can’t be said of the business community.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the 2013-14 protests in Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia.

Contrary to the claim, international sanctions over Crimea are a serious obstacle for Western firms to operate on the peninsula. Those companies who continue doing it are forced to resort to complicated evasive schemes and face consequences of violating EU legislation.

Lithuanian judges broke the law in the case of January 13th

The Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) charged, in absentia, the Lithuanian judges which passed an illegal judgement in the case of events of January 13, 1991, in Vilnius. The ICR said that the Lithuanian judges know that events in Vilnius happened at the moment when Lithuania was part of the USSR. During the events of January 1991, Soviet troops acted according to Soviet law to ensure public order.

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On January 13., 1991, during an armed confrontation near the TV tower in Vilnius, 14 people died and more than 600 were injured. The Prosecutor General’s Office of Lithuania claims without any evidence that victims were killed by Soviet soldiers.

Disproof

The case contains historical revisionism and recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the events of January 13th, 1991.

The statement by the Investigative Committee of Russia against the Lithuanian judges is an attempt to exert pressure on Lithuania, its courts, and law enforcement officials.

Polish media promote the idea that the Russians are not people, but the “agents of the Kremlin”

Poland continues to discriminate against people for their opinions and beliefs if they are different from the position of the Polish Government. No one in Warsaw thinks about the persecution of persons, who are calling for ethnic hatred towards the Russians. The Polish authorities do not try to compensate the damage to the Russians, who were humiliated by the Polish state services only because of their citizenship. There are no legal procedures against the Polish media, which portrayed the Russians in a way similar to the presentation of the Jews by the Nazi “Völkischer Beobachter” in the Third Reich.

The leading Polish media, both pro-Governmental and pro-Opposition, promote the following message: They [Russians] are not people, but the “agents of the Kremlin”.

Disproof

This message is a part of the Kremlin's widespread narrative about Russophobic Poland. The Kremlin-controlled media regularly accuses the political elites of Poland of Russophobia and the implementation of anti-Russian policies.

The situation around Leonid Sviridov (a Russian journalist working in Poland before 2014) should not be considered as evidence for any “systemic discrimination of the Russian citizens in Poland”. The Polish special services decided to expel Sviridov to Russia in October 2014 because he was suspected of espionage in favour of the Russian special services.