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On taking urgent measures to restore international law and order and overcome the consequences of the international security catastrophe — open statement

30.03.2022

OPEN STATEMENT

To the international community and intergovernmental organisations

From the civil society, media organisations and associations, and media outlets

of Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia

On taking urgent and necessary measures to restore international law and order and overcome the consequences of the international security catastrophe caused by the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.

On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation launched a large-scale invasion into sovereign and independent Ukraine in violation of the imperative norms of international law. This invasion was a continuation of Russia's aggression against Ukraine that started in March 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and the subsequent occupation of part of the eastern territories of Ukraine. There is currently a large-scale international armed conflict in the heart of Europe, in which Russia is resorting to war crimes as a deliberately chosen strategy of terror against civilians. It is clear that this conflict has posed the greatest threat to world peace since World War II and could lead to the complete destruction of international law and order and the world’s entry into an era of "war of all against all." This catastrophe became possible due to laziness, cowardice, and conformism of international institutions and organisations that have failed to effectively defend the principles of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. It also became possible because by relying confidently on the international standards and norms developed after World War II, we did not pay attention to the fact that the all-encompassing technological "disruption" of recent years could require a substantial revision and/or adaptation of at least some of these standards.

Recognizing the high level of threat to the region and to the world while at the same time being confident that the greatest crises create unique opportunities for large-scale reforms and positive change, we call on the international community and competent international organisations to:

І. Demonstrate genuine commitment to the spirit of international law and the necessary political will to expel the Russian Federation from the UN Security Council. A country that has repeatedly violated the fundamental principles of the United Nations has no legal or moral right to be a permanent member of one of its key bodies.

ІІ. Recognize that the UN's structure and certain operational procedures (above all, the rules of the work of the UN Security Council) were based on the political realities of the end of World War II and are neo-colonial and unjust by their nature. They have long been unable to uphold international law and order. For this reason, it is necessary to immediately begin the review process of the basic mechanisms of the UN with the aim of substantially reforming them to effectively ensure the preservation of peace.

ІІІ. Ensure that the Russian Federation is brought to justice for the international crimes committed against Ukraine, including the crime of aggression and war crimes. Should it be impossible to engage the International Criminal Court effectively, it is necessary to establish a special international tribunal to investigate and punish the crimes committed by Russian officials and military personnel against Ukraine.

IV. Given that Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine incorporates a significant information component, the aforementioned international tribunal must consider holding liable a number of Russian media figures who deliberately, systematically, and massively developed and implemented aggressive information operations to spread disinformation, incitement to hatred, propaganda for and justification of Russian aggression against Ukraine. A provisional list of persons to be brought to justice is proposed in Annex 1 to this Statement. A non-exhaustive list of verified sources and reports with examples and evidence of such aggressive information operations is provided in Annex 2 to this Statement.

V. Recognize that freedom of expression and freedom of the media should in no way extend to aggressive information operations that are funded, controlled, and/or otherwise supported by countries with unlawful intent. Immediately begin the process of international consultations involving representatives of civil society, academia, and the media to develop a legal framework to limit and counter aggressive information operations at the global and regional levels. Numerous testimonies from Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine clearly demonstrate how aggressive information operations lead to actual armed conflicts. For the sake of protection of peace, this practice must be eradicated.

VI. Recognize that information aggression is not merely a supporting factor in modern conflicts but rather a powerful main component of them. Immediately begin the process of international consultations to develop an updated definition of aggression for the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to include aggressive information operations.

Being aware of the complexity of these demands, we are nevertheless convinced that their successful implementation is possible and necessary to preserve the civilizational achievements of humanity and overcome the global security crisis.

With respect and readiness to cooperate in achieving the objectives set out in this statement,

 

SIGNATURES:

  1. Independent Media Council, Ukraine

  2. Detector Media, Ukraine

  3. Institute of Mass Information, Ukraine

  4. Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

  5. Internews Ukraine, Ukraine

  6. Regional Press Development Institute, Ukraine

  7. Suspilnist Foundation, Ukraine

  8. Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law, Ukraine

  9. Human Rights Centre ZMINA, Ukraine

  10. Commission on Journalistic Ethics, Ukraine

  11. StopFake, Ukraine

  12. Digital Security Lab, Ukraine

  13. Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy, Ukraine

  14. Human Rights Platform, Ukraine

  15. Ukrainian Media and Communication Institute, Ukraine

  16. Consortium of the veteran organisation of the east, Ukraine

  17. Ukrainian association of media psychologist and media educators, Ukraine

  18. The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, Ukraine

  19. Political psychologist association of Ukraine, Ukraine

  20. National media association, Ukraine

  21. European Values Center for Security Policy, Czech Republic

  22. Legal Media-Centre, Kazakhstan

  23. 101tv.kz, Kazakhstan

  24. Tilshi, Kazakhstan

  25. New Generation of Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Kazakhstan

  26. ProTenge, Kazakhstan

  27. Abzhan news, Kazakhstan

  28. MediaNet International Journalism Centre, Kazakhstan

  29. Factcheck.kz, Kazakhstan

  30. Youtube channel "Just journalism", Kazakhstan

  31. Association of Independent Press (API), Moldova

  32. Centre for Investigative Journalism, Moldova

  33. Media–Guard Association, Мoldova

  34.  Media Alternativa, TV8, Moldova

  35. Sud-Est Media AO (Moldova.org), Moldova

  36. Centrul PAS AO (Sanatateinfo.md), Moldova

  37. Jurnal TV, Moldova

  38. Committee for Freedom of the Press, Moldova

  39. A.O. „Media & Human Rights”, Moldova

  40. Independent Journalism Centre, Moldova 

  41.  Interact Media, Agora.md, Moldova

  42. Association of Electronic Press, Moldova

  43. NewsMaker.md, Moldova

  44. Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), Belarus

  45. Solidarity Fund BYSOL, Belarus

  46.  Georgian Alliance of Regional Broadcasters, Georgia

  47. Journalism Resource Centre, Georgia

  48. TOK TV-Georgia, Georgia

  49.  Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), Georgia

  50.  Liberal Academy Tbilisi, Georgia

  51. The Greens Movement of Georgia, Georgia

  52.  The Association of Business Consulting Organisations of Georgia, Georgia

  53.  Imereti Union of Science – “SPECTRI”, Georgia

  54. Research-Intellectual Club “Dialogue of Generations”, Georgia

  55.  Samtskhe-Javakheti Regional Association “Toleranti”, Georgia

  56.  Georgian Trade Union Confederation, Georgia

  57. Association "Peaceful and Business Caucasus", Georgia

  58.  Association "Merkuri”, Georgia

  59.  Black Sea Ecologist Union, Georgia

  60.  Georgian Institute of Politics, Georgia

  61.  Gori Information Centre, Georgia

  62.  Energy Efficiency Foundation, Georgia

  63.  Georgian Civil Development Association, Georgia

  64.  New Generation For Democratic, Georgia

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