Ukraine Russia War | The Boutcha massacre highlighted a phenomenon present in all wars: war rape. How does the Russian army perpetuate this scourge?
Described as “war crimes” by a large part of the international community, and “genocide” by Volodymyr Zelensky, the events in the town of Boutcha shock the world.
This city, close to the capital kyiv, barely recaptured by the Ukrainian forces, dozens of civilians were killed by the Russian army. The Ukrainian president also claims that “women have been raped and children killed.” Today, NGOs such as Human Rights Watch are investigating to assess the extent of these war crimes and to collect evidence of what happened in Boutcha.
These war crimes include war rape. This practice is used as a weapon in all conflicts. The NGO We are not weapons of war explains that “sexual violence in conflicts is a military or political strategy in its own right”.
The International Criminal Court defines sexual crimes committed in times of war as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and even genocide when they are committed “with the intention of destroying all or part of a national ethnic group, racial or religious.”
Why Is Rape Used As a Weapon Of War?
In the case of the city of Boutcha, the war rapes cannot be qualified as genocide, since the goal was not to destroy an ethnic, racial or religious group. But in this case, why use rape as a weapon of war, especially when the Russian troops were leaving the city?
According to the NGO We are not weapons of war, “war rape is the perfect crime.” Indeed, these acts destabilize the entire community in which they were perpetrated.
They can lead to “the exclusion and rejection of victims, impoverishment, the stigmatization of children born of rape, the escalation of violence, the weakening of the economy of the country concerned”…
These rapes are also a weapon of last resort. In Boutcha’s case, seeing the Ukrainian troops arrive, the Russian soldiers used the last weapon they could, leaving behind them an indelible mark in the minds of the victims and their community.