“Russia’s Red Square is Tainted with Syrian Blood”
SNHR has published the report “Russia’s Red Square is Tainted with Syrian Blood” in which the Network draws upon the daily process of monitoring and documentation in addition to interviewing survivors, victims’ families, and eyewitnesses where the report included 15 accounts.
The 20 page report notes that decline in the rates of Russian airstrikes after the commencement of the Cessation of Hostilities statement on 27 February 2016. However, when the High Negotiation Committee decided to postpone its participation in Geneva talks on 19 April, 2016, Russian forces resumed bombing areas controlled by armed opposition factions especially in the northern parts of Syria (Aleppo and Idlib) where a military campaign were carried out in Idlib city at the end of May 2016 that resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of residents. Also, Russian forces assisted the aims of government forces in Aleppo to besiege the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo which are under the control of armed opposition factions.
Fadel Abdul Ghani, chairman of SNHR, adds:
“The Russian government or the Russian parliament haven’t asked for an investigation to be conducted regarding all of these crimes. No one even brought that up. This is a blatant indication on the utter indifference to the Syrians’ lives that were murdered by Russian forces during its military operations in Syria. We stressed to Mr. Vladimir SAFRONKOV, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations (political affairs, the necessity to launch serious and separate investigations on all the incidents that Russian forces are suspectedly involved in.”
The report records that 2704 civilians were killed including 746 children and 514 women which is the death toll of the attacks we believe that were carried out by Russian forces between 30 September 2015, the day when Russian forces’ interference begun, and 1 August 2016. The report outlines the most notable incidents that have been documented in areas controlled by armed opposition factions and areas controlled by ISIS.
According to the report, the highest number of victims, 1178 civilians, was in Aleppo followed by Idlib, 652 civilians, and then Deir Ez-Zour with 331 civilians.
The report asserts that the Russian regime has, beyond any doubt, violated Security Council Resolution 2139, Resolution 2254, and Resolution 2268 that supports the Cessation of Hostilities statement. Certainly, all what was included in the report is violations of the Cessation of Hostilities statement that was declared on 27 February 2016 and mainly the willful killing (Rome Stature, Article 8) which constitute war crimes.
Furthermore, the bombardment operations mentioned in the report have targeted armless civilians. Therefore, Russian forces have violated the rules of the international human rights law that protect the right to life. Furthermore, these violations were perpetrated during a non-international armed conflict which qualify as a war crime in which all elements were fulfilled.
The report calls on the Security Council to find solutions in case its Resolutions were violated by rogue regimes such as the Syrian regime and by a permanent member such as the Russian Federation.
Additionally, the report calls for the referral of the Syrian case to the International Criminal Court and holding all those who were involved accountable including the Russian regime who was involved in war crimes as it has proven. Also, the report demands that peace and security be instilled in Syria and the implementation the norm of the Responsibility to Protect in order to save the Syrians’ lives, culture, and arts from being destroyed, stolen, and ruined.
The report emphazises the necessity of conducting serious investigaiotn by the Russian government regarding the massacrs that were possibly perpetrated by forces affiliated to it and calls on the Russian govenrmet to cease the use of internationally-prohibited weapons even in the case of war such as cluster munitions.
The report calls on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit a report for the Human Rights Council and the other organs of the UN on the crimes that have been perpetrated by the Russian forces or it will lose its credibility as a human rights defender and be reduced to a political tool.
Finally, the report calls for the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect in tens of studies and reports and as a member of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) after all political channels through the Arab League’s plan and then Mr. Kofi Annan’s plan were drought out. Therefore, steps under Article VII of the Rome Stature must be taken and the norm of the Responsibility to Protect, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly, must be implemented.