Disinfo: Moscow scrupulously observes Geneva Conventions on treatment of POWs

Summary

Moscow has scrupulously observed the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners.

Disproof

The claim is part of an ongoing pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign concerning Russia’s criminal invasion of Ukraine.

Rights watchdogs and news outlets have warned about Moscow’s potential mistreatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) throughout the course of the invasion. Some of these reports described the general conditions under which the Russian occupation forces kept the captured Ukrainians.

Others concern the violation of specific provisions of the Geneva Convention. For instance, Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Commissioner (p. 9) have both condemned the Russian practice of broadcasting images and interviews with Ukrainian POWs on state television. This amounts to a breach of Article 13 of the Third Geneva Convention, which states that “prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.”

Experts have also highlighted Moscow’s refusal to even recognise some captured combatants as prisoners of war. In June 2022, the “supreme court” of the Russia-controlled Donetsk people’s republic sentenced two UK nationals to death for participating in the hostilities on Ukraine’s side. This directly violates the privilege of combatancy enshrined in the 1977 Additional Protocol, Art. 43(2):

Members of the armed forces of a Party to a conflict (other than medical personnel and chaplains covered by Article 33 of the Third Convention) are combatants, that is to say, they have the right to participate directly in hostilities [emphasis added].

The same rule applies to hundreds of Ukrainian fighters captured in Mariupol in May 2022, whom Moscow plans to charge with “war crimes” via a Nuremberg-style kangaroo trial. This would likely constitute yet another breach of the Convention, which states that the troops can only be tried for specific war crimes, on an individual basis, and based on concrete evidence.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 304
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/08/2022
  • Article language(s) English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: war crimes, War in Ukraine, Human rights

Belarus

see more

Europe is destroyed by the US regime

The US regime has destroyed Europe and it has seized to exist. The US now used its many hired agents in Europe, as well as their hired guns in NATO.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about NATO as a tool used by the US to control European countries. See also our article Key Narratives in Pro-Kremlin Disinformation Part 3: ‘Lost Sovereignty’.

NATO is a defensive alliance, based on cooperation and consensus, whose purpose is to protect its member states. NATO was founded in 1949 by twelve sovereign nations: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. It has since grown to 30 Allies who each took an individual and sovereign decision to join this Alliance.

Ukraine was close to turning Russian cities into Chernobyl

Ukraine was close to turning Russian cities into Chernobyl. There was no alternative to Russia's special military operation.

Kyiv carried out prohibited work of creating nuclear weapons at the Zaporizhzhia NPP. Russia's special military operation in Ukraine has once and for all put to an end to these plans of Kyiv.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin outlets aiming to justify the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

Ukraine has been a nuclear-weapon-free country since 1994 when the Budapest memorandum was signed. On 24 October 1991, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a statement on the country's nuclear-weapon status. In 1992, Ukraine signed the Lisbon Protocol and it joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state in 1994.

Zelenskyy wants to cede Ukrainian territory to Poland

A popular and wrong belief is that Volodymyr Zelenskyy has Jewish roots, in fact he has more Polish than Jewish origins which explain his desire to transfer sovereignty of Ukrainian territory to Poland. Moreover, Zelensyy is a Polish genus related to Mazepa.

This is proved by the statements of the Polish authorities and changes to Ukrainian legislation. Bills were submitted for consideration of the Rada. Poles enjoy a special status that will allow them to hold positions in state organizations and enjoy the same rights as Ukrainians. Likewise, from Poland there have long been declarations that the two states will get rid of the common border and become one people.

Disproof

Recurring narrative presenting Poland as a state with imperial ambitions. The statement was made after Ukrainian President Zelensky submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a draft law on granting Poles a special status.

The assertion that in this way the Ukrainian territories are given to Poland is a distortion and unfounded. Poland adheres to international law regarding state borders, fully supports the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, it does not have any territorial claims against its neighbours and it rejects any “imperial” ambitions towards other countries. Read more about the Eastern policy of Poland here.

Subscribe to the DISINFO REVIEW

Your weekly update on pro-Kremlin disinformation

No, thank you.