For eight years, the occupying power and its occupation administration in Crimea, apart from illegal conscription campaigns, have been promoting joining the Russian army, including among children.
“Russia’s state policy towards the militarisation of the inhabitants of the occupied peninsula is systematic and large-scale and aimed not only at young people but also at children from preschool age. Paramilitary classes are being set up in cadet schools, military schools, and secondary schools where children are taught military tactics, strategies, and handling of various weapons,” said Ihor Ponochovny, Head of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol.
As an example, he cites the Young Army – the children’s and youth military-patriotic movement under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence of Russia that began operating on the peninsula after the occupation. Among the goals of this movement is “to raise a generation capable of defending the homeland with weapons in hands.” It cannot be said that such “training” is voluntary. According to the Prosecutor’s Office of the ARC and Sevastopol, the occupiers plan to enlist every 10th schoolgoer in the Young Army ranks by the end of 2024.
All these facts are recorded in the criminal proceedings of the Prosecutor’s Office of the ARC and Sevastopol.
“We classify such actions of the occupiers as a war crime, according to Art. 438 of the Criminal Code (violation of the laws and customs of war) as propaganda aimed at voluntary enlistment of civilians is prohibited by Article 51 (1) of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. At present, notices of charges were filed to two heads of the Young Army regional headquarters. An indictment against one of them was submitted to court within the procedure for special pre-trial investigation,” said the head of the Prosecutor’s Office of the ARC and Sevastopol.
Moreover, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, together with the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and the Crimean Human Rights Group, sent two communications to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The information contains evidence of involvement of the senior political leadership of the occupying power in the illegal conscription campaigns in Crimea, as well as propaganda of military service among the citizens of Ukraine, in particular, among children on the peninsula.