Lawyers say strategy of denying food and services to people in Ukrainian city during siege could amount to war crime. Russia engaged in a “deliberate pattern” of starvation tactics during the 85-day siege of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol in early 2022, which amounted to a war crime, according to a fresh analysis submitted to the international criminal court. The conclusion is at the heart of a dossier in the process of being submitted to the ICC in The Hague by the lawyers Global Rights Compliance, working in conjunction with the Ukrainian government. It argues that Russia and its leaders intended to kill and harm large numbers of civilians. It has been estimated that 22,000 people were killed during the encirclement and capture of the city of Mariupol at the beginning of the war in Ukraine. Civilians were left without water, gas or electricity within days of the siege as temperatures fell below minus 10C. Catriona Murdoch, a partner at Global Rights Compliance, said the aim of the research was “to see if there was a broader narrative” that amounted to a deliberate denial of food and other amenities necessary for life by the Russian military and its leadership, a strategy of starvation that could be said to amount to a war crime. Mariupol: The ruin of a city Read more “What we could see is that there were four phases to the Russian assault, starting with attacks on civilian infrastructure, cutting out the supply of electricity, heating and water. Then humanitarian evacuations were denied and even attacked, while aid was prevented from getting through,” Murdoch said. “In the third phase, the remaining critical infrastructure was targeted, civilians terrorised with aid and water points bombed. Finally, in phase four, Russia engaged in strategic attacks to destroy or capture any remaining infrastructure items,” she said. The phased targeting of Mariupol, she said, demonstrated that Russia had planned to capture the frontline city without mercy for its civilian population, which was estimated at 450,000 before the full invasion began in 24 February 2022. The dossier concludes that an estimated 90% of healthcare facilities and homes in the city were destroyed or damaged during the siege, and food distribution points were bombed as well as humanitarian evacuation routes. Given the importance of Mariupol and the centralisation of Russian decision-making, culpability for the deaths of thousands of civilians went to the top, it says. “Vladimir Putin is culpable,” Murdoch said, “and echelons of the Russian military leadership”, although she did not name commanders.

via guardian: Russia accused of ‘deliberate’ starvation tactics in Mariupol in submission to ICC

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