Can we expect the imperialist newshounds who sniff up every lamp post in search of alleged human rights abuses in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Havana or Caracas to be equally eager to publicise the catalogue of violations detailed in a landmark case being brought before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) by the Russian prosecutor general’s office? Probably not, given that the defendant in this case is Ukraine.
The prosecutor raises a number of key charges of human rights abuses, all the way back to the fascist-led ‘Euromaidan’ campaign of violence and intimidation that overthrew the democratically elected leadership and installed the Kiev junta in the first place, and on through the ever-rising civilian death toll that accompanied the ensuing seven years of military aggression conducted against the people of the Donbass.
The charge sheet details the shelling of Russian border areas, attacks on Russian diplomatic missions and discrimination against Russian companies and Russian-speaking Ukrainians. (Russia takes Ukraine to European court over post-annexation grievances, The Moscow Times, 22 July 2021)
Other charges accuse Kiev of suppressing free speech and persecuting dissidents through the banning of media and online platforms. The charges also hold Kiev to account for the needless death of 298 civilians on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 owing to Ukraine’s failure to close the airspace over a known combat zone.
One issue that the prosecutor is hotly pursuing is Kiev’s ongoing blockade of the water supply to the citizens of Crimea – a human rights violation of the first order. The Kiev regime built a dam on the North Crimean Canal, blocking the waterway that feeds in from the Dnieper river and would normally supply 85 percent of Crimea’s water needs.
This deliberate act of sabotage, which directly threatens the health and welfare of the people of Crimea, is clearly intended as a collective punishment for their having chosen to join the Russian Federation.
The Russian prosecutor has asked the ECHR to invoke Article 39 (which in exceptional circumstances allows remedial action to be taken before any hearing or decision has been made) to enforce an immediate end to the water blockade, but this has been rejected.
It remains to be seen what, if anything, the ECHR does to rein in Ukraine’s egregious human rights record, both past and present. By pressing the case at the ECHR, Russia is putting the junta under the spotlight – and also the institutions which claim to uphold international law.
Ukraine’s violations of human rights need to be traced back to the source. It was imperialism which egged on the Maidan putsch, stimulated the regrowth of ultranationalism and transformed the country into a launchpad for provocations against Russia.
It is first and foremost imperialism which should be in the dock.