Human rights campaigners petition ICC to prosecute Russian propagandists for hate speech — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Human rights campaigners petition ICC to prosecute Russian propagandists for hate speech

Vladimir Putin awards Margarita Simonyan with the Order of Honour at the Kremlin, 20 December 2022. Photo: EPA-EFE / MIKHAEL KLIMENTYEV / KREMLIN / POOL

Vladimir Putin awards Margarita Simonyan with the Order of Honour at the Kremlin, 20 December 2022. Photo: EPA-EFE / MIKHAEL KLIMENTYEV / KREMLIN / POOL

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute some of Russia’s best known propagandists for crimes against humanity on Thursday, citing their comments about Ukraine.

In a letter to the ICC supported by human rights groups in both Russia and Ukraine, the federation called on the ICC to issue arrest warrants for six individuals it accused of “encouraging and facilitating Russia’s war crimes and other atrocities”.

As well as veteran propagandists Margarita Simonyan, Dmitry Kiselyov, Vladimir Solovyov, and Sergey Mardan, the list names Kremlin censorship and propaganda curator Alexey Gromov and former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who has repeatedly insisted Ukraine has no right to exist, describing the country as a “cancerous growth” run by a “neo-Nazi regime”.

Medvedev has also threatened Poland with nuclear war, a call that was subsequently backed by state TV talk show host Solovyov. Editor-in-chief of Russia’s international propaganda outlet RT, Margarita Simonyan, is another proponent of nuclear warfare, having even offered to sacrifice Siberia in an atomic blast to neutralise the Western “threat” to Russia.

FIDH Vice President Oleksandra Matviichuk said that Russian atrocities in Ukraine “would not be possible without the dehumanising campaign of Russian propagandists, who are just as guilty as those who pull their triggers killing Ukrainian civilians.”

“Hateful rhetoric has played a crucial role in Russia’s criminal campaign in Ukraine” FIDH Head of International Justice Ilya Nuzov said. “Our organisations believe that in the context of crimes against humanity, hate speech is a separate offence that warrants greater scrutiny by the International Criminal Court.”

Founded in 1922, the FIDH is an international human rights NGO representing some 188 organisations in 116 countries that has been defending civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for over a century.

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