The war in Ukraine in 2022 is an illustration of the barbaric nature of the Russian state and a testament to the ineffectiveness of classic measures designed to reduce the suffering of civilians in times of war. Despite international attention, this war has brought to the importance of protecting civilians, and it is clear that these classic measures are no longer working. According to reports, crimes perpetrated by the Russian military, exceed 70,000 according to reports. These include crimes against people such as murder, rape, and torture, as well as other horrifying acts of humiliation that have undoubtedly caused immeasurable pain and suffering to Ukrainian citizens. This reveals the need to rethink the strategies used by institutions and organizations tasked with protecting civilian populations.
The feeling of impunity and helplessness in the region has caused Russian troops, who have been suffering increasing defeats on the battlefield, to turn to the innocent civilian population left in the occupied territories to release their bottled-up aggression and anger. Accounts of the war crimes committed tell horrific stories of children, men, and women who were violated and left traumatized. It is no wonder that many refugees strenuously tried to leave the conflict zone.
In addition to the physical and emotional trauma caused, the feelings of uncertainty and distrust among the Ukrainian population that have naturally arisen as a result of these heinous acts of violence have left the citizens of the country feeling abandoned and forgotten. International organizations such as the OSCE, who could have provided aid and assistance to victims of war crimes, have failed to do so, and instead have left the task of holding perpetrators accountable to the non-governmental organizations present in the region.
The International Red Cross is often considered the gold standard for protecting civilians. Founded over 150 years ago, this organization has been a beacon of hope for civilians in war-torn regions worldwide. Unfortunately, despite its positive intentions, this organization was unable to prevent the suffering of civilians during times of war. In addition, the Geneva Convention, which is meant to be a tool for protecting civilians, is often indicative rather than effective.
"The ICRC is not doing enough to help the victims of the war in Ukraine." - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Interview with CNN, March 8, 2022)
All of this suggests that the measures taken by international organizations and institutions to protect civilians during times of war have become outdated and have to be re-examined. As the war in Ukraine has clearly demonstrated, relying on classic measures is no longer sufficient. In order to ensure the safety and security of those caught in the middle of armed conflicts, international organizations and institutions must take steps to identify and implement more effective strategies. By doing so, they will be able to protect civilian populations better and minimize their suffering.
One proposal for reform is to form a separate agency under the auspices of the United Nations that is responsible for monitoring the observance of human rights during military conflicts. This agency would be composed of representatives of all UN member countries and would have the authority to investigate and report on human rights abuses as well as to hold perpetrators accountable. The agency is responsible for monitoring the observance of human rights during all types of military conflict, including civil wars, international wars, and other forms of armed conflict.
The Ukrainian war highlights the need for a new approach to protect civilian populations during times of war. The international community must take steps to identify and implement more effective strategies to ensure the safety and security of those caught in the midst of armed conflicts. The proposed agency would provide a much-needed mechanism for monitoring and reporting on human rights abuses as well as a means of holding perpetrators accountable.
For the agency to be effective, it would require the support and cooperation of all the UN member countries. This would require a commitment to the principles of human rights and the rule of law as well as a willingness to cooperate with the agency in its investigations and recommendations. The agency would also need adequate resources and funding to carry out its mandate effectively.
In conclusion, the formation of a separate agency under the auspices of the United to monitor the observance of human rights during military conflicts would be a significant step towards ensuring that human rights are respected and protected during times of war. It would provide a much-needed mechanism for monitoring and reporting on human rights abuses as well as a means of holding perpetrators accountable. The international community must take action to protect civilians during times of war and ensure that the suffering of innocent people is minimized.
The war in Ukraine in 2022 reminds us of what happens when a medieval-like state is unchecked and unrestrained. The scale and severity of the recorded war crimes are an indication of Russia and an affront to humanity. Unless the international community intervenes and holds Russia accountable for its actions, other innocent civilians will also find themselves at the mercy of an oppressive regime. For justice to be served and Ukraine to enjoy a safe and secure environment, action must be taken to ensure that those responsible for these atrocities are brought to justice and that no war crimes are committed in the future.