The Lemkin Institute Coauthors Communication to the ICC against the Russian Federation for the Intent to Commit Genocide through the Forcible Transfer of Ukrainian Children
25 October 2022 - The Ukraine-based Regional Center for Human Rights and the US-based Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention submitted today a joint communication to the ICC requesting an investigation of the Russian Federation for the crime of genocide pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The Lemkin Institute’s partner, the Regional Center for Human Rights (RCHR), is a non-governmental organization founded in Sevastopol, Ukraine. The organization is dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights both at the national and international levels and houses lawyers with practical experience in human rights protection. After the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the RCHR began documenting war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine. They identified specific features of the crime of genocide, particularly its fifth element: (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
The Lemkin Institute has been working with the Regional Center since spring 2022, after the Lemkin Institute issued two statements calling attention to evidence of the crime of genocide in Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine (on March 20 and April 9, 2022). The Lemkin Institute was the first global organization to officially recognize the threat of genocide in Ukraine. The two groups co-authored this claim to denounce the serious crimes committed against the children and families of Ukraine, crimes which pose a direct threat to the future of the Ukrainian nation.
This communication is derived from extensive research and evidence collection from the period between February 24 to September 30, 2022. In specific, it contains a thorough detailing of the evidence of genocide committed by the Russian Federation Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, against Ukrainian children, Ukrainian families, and the Ukrainian nation.
Under Russian occupation, Ukrainian children have become the victims of illegal adoptions by Russian citizens. Ms. Lvova-Belova has overseen and, indeed, devised ways to speed up the consistent and systematic implementation of a policy to transfer Ukrainian children to Russian families.
This action is an element of the crime of genocide against the Ukrainian nation with the intent to partially destroy the Ukrainian nation, pursuant to Article 6(e) of the Rome Statute of the ICC.
Among other evidence, the communication documents the successive waves of adoptions of forcibly deported Ukrainian children in Russia. On April 27, 2022, twenty-seven children, who were deported from the occupied territories of Ukraine, were transferred to ten Russian families. From August 4 - 5, 2022, during a visit to the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), Ms Lvova-Belova reported that 160 children had been transferred to foster care within Russian families, and that 133 of those children had already received Russian citizenship. Moreover, on September 16, 2022, 125 children under the age of 18 – the largest single group of children since the invasion started – were transferred to Russian families.
The acts provided for in Article 6(e) of the Rome Statute were committed by Maria Lvova-Belova or by persons under her control, not by accident or carelessness. They were supported by President Putin, with whom Lvova-Belova has close ties.
Thus, the Regional Center for Human Rights and the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention believe that Russian Federation Officials are responsible for Genocide in Ukraine, particularly through the forcible transferring of children from the Ukrainian group to the Russian group.
The organizations appeal to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate the illegal adoption of Ukrainian children by Russian citizens, based on the documented evidence of elements of the crime of genocide, as provided for in Article 6(e) of the Rome Statute, in the light of Article 15(3) of the Rome Statute.
For a PDF of this Press Release, please click below:
For the full text of the ICC Communication, please click below:
The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention is a US-based nongovernmental organization focused on the prevention of genocide worldwide through education and grassroots empowerment, national and international advocacy, and legal accountability.