Monday, November 28, 2022

Russia's latest tactic in conscripting Crimean Tatars is yet another war crime

A lot of bad things have been happening in Ukraine, many of them illegal and some qualifying as crimes against humanity, even genocide.

Spare a thought, though, for the native Tatars of Crimea. These are not the 500,000 to 800,000 Russians that moved (or were moved) to the Crimean Peninsula since Putin's annexation in 2014 in order to solidify Russia's claim of ownership of the peninsula. This is the ethnic Turkic Muslim minority that has lived in Crimea since time immemorial, a persecuted minority in their own land.

Now, to add insult to injury, the Tatars of Crimea are being disproportionately targeted for mobilization and conscription into the Russian army. So, although these people are, and have always been, opposed to Russian rule in Crimea andď in Ukraine generally, they are being told to fight for Russia in an illegal and unfounded war against their Ukrainian compatriots. And you have to know that they will be utilized in dangerous frontline positions as what used to be (and apparently still is) called "cannon fodder". 

This is Russia taking revenge on the unruly Tatars, who have been a thorn in his side since 2014 (and before). Those that can are choosing to flee their homeland to the relative (and I stress " relative") safety of Kyiv or Lviv. Many others, though, have no such opportunity and will indeed become cannon fodder. 

This kind of targeted conscription with a view to the scattering and extermination of an ethnic minority can be seen as genocide. Certainly, it is an international war crime and  against the Geneva Convention, which explicitly prohibits an occupying state from compelling an occupied population to serve in its ranks.

No comments: