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Russia cannot justify attack on Okhmatdyt hospital, it is a war crime

Jul 9, 2024

The Russians have launched a large-scale information operation to justify the missile attack on the Okhmatdyt hospital in Kyiv. However, this will not help them avoid responsibility for a war crime.

This is reported by RBC-Ukraine with reference to a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).


It is noted that Russian information operations falsely portray the Okhmatdyt children's hospital as a partially or fully military hospital and falsely assume that such a hospital is inherently a legitimate military target. Instead, Okhmatdyt is not a military hospital - it is the largest multidisciplinary children's hospital in Ukraine, which treats up to 18,000 children a year.

ISW reminded that Russia is a signatory to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Article 19 of the document states that the international legal protection of civilian hospitals does not cease if the institution does not commit "acts harmful to the enemy." In addition, the article explicitly excludes the presence of sick or wounded military personnel as an act "detrimental to the enemy."

"Article 19 of the Convention also states that the 'enemy' must give warning before attacking a hospital that allegedly contains a 'harmful' military objective. However, no Russian sources claim that the Russian authorities gave such a warning, nor did they provide evidence that the hospital, full of sick children, posed an imminent threat to Russian troops," the report says.

At the same time, the Russian Ministry of Defense's statement that a Ukrainian air defense interceptor allegedly hit civilian objects, as well as the claim by a Russian military blogger that a Russian missile accidentally hit a hospital, also do not absolve the Russian army of responsibility for these consequences.

Author - Dmitriy Levchenko, 09/07/2024

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