Under the procedural guidance of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, an indictment was filed against the “head of the regional headquarters of the Young Army of the city of Sevastopol” under Part 1 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (violation of the laws and customs of war). The sanction of the article provides for imprisonment for a term of eight to twelve years.

Young Army is a children’s and youth military-patriotic movement under the auspices of the Russian Ministry of Defence which began operating on the peninsula after the occupation. In general, the leaders of the “organisation” aim to “bring up a generation capable of defending the homeland with weapons in hands.”

The pre-trial investigation established that in 2016 the defendant occupied the position of ” head of the regional headquarters of the Young Army of Sevastopol” ensuring an overall positive attitude towards service in the Russian army among children.

The defendant directly organised and carried out propaganda among children and adolescents in favour of voluntary enlistment in the army of the occupying power, as well as military service training in educational institutions, military and patriotic training for the service in the Russian Armed Forces.

Moreover, the defendant delivered a number of speeches in the media in order to disseminate in detail and explain the peculiarities of the military-patriotic training in the organisation.

By his actions, the “head of headquarters” violated the laws and customs of war, as propaganda aimed at securing 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.

Natalia Tolub

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