Starting his briefing from a broader perspective, Vairimu Nderitu said that the hateful and controversial stories that result from growing hostility, violence and discrimination could have a “detrimental effect” on societies as a whole.
“We saw it in the early Holocaust, in Rwanda in 1994,” and in the ethnically strained conflict in Bosnia between Muslims, Serbs and Croats in the mid-1990s, she said, recalling that “ending the war requires prolonged actions, including countering harsh rhetoric, hate speech online and offline, and violations of rights that affect lives and livelihoods.
A senior UN official said that Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which in 1948, “out of the shadows of the Holocaust”, identified as punishable crimes, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempted genocide and complicity in genocide.
“This is done in full respect of the fundamental right to freedom of expression, as enshrined in international human rights law,” she said.
Ukraine in focus
Referring specifically to Ukraine, Ms. Nderitu emphasized the important role of the regional and international level in tackling the ongoing humanitarian crisis and stressed the importance of all states adhering to international human rights and international humanitarian law and principles.
The Special Adviser recalled the Secretary-General’s visit to the region, his call for a cessation of hostilities and the work of her office in support of inter-community dialogue efforts with the UN team there.
Meanwhile, the “continuing deterioration of the situation” prompted the Special Adviser to call on everyone in a position of influence to “redouble their efforts to contribute to the restoration of peace”.
She called on religious leaders to use their influence to support efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict, not to inflame it further, and recalled that advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that incites discrimination, hostility or violence is prohibited by international law.
The solution is possible with the commitment of everyone – UN Special Adviser
“We need to work harder”
Regarding allegations that could constitute possible genocide and war crimes in Ukraine, she said this could only be resolved “by a competent court”, adding that her office does not conduct criminal investigations into specific incidents, present or past ”.
While the role of the special adviser is for prevention, not decision-making, she reiterated her call for “an end to this war to ensure the protection of civilians and to speed up diplomatic efforts to make both possible.”
“Prevention focuses on the future as well as the past, and the outpouring of hostility in response to this war means we need to work harder to protect everyone,” she said.
She called on the Council and stakeholders to “articulate an inclusive vision, to propose a roadmap … that is not indifferent to injustice”.
Although “the solution is possible with everyone’s commitment”, she recalled that with each continuing delay, “the escalation of human suffering continues”.
Dehumanization of Ukrainians
Lyubov Tsibulska, head of the Center for Strategic Communication and Information Security, a think tank set up by the Ukrainian government, now says “thousands” of evidence point to Russian war crimes.
She also cites “genocidal rhetoric” extracted from the Russian media, which calls Ukraine a “fake nation” that does not “deserve to exist”.
Recalling Soviet-era tactics for starving the enemy, she accused Russia of “bringing hunger” and said some Russian troops expressed “pride and approval” for the abuses.
Miss. Tsibulska stressed that she thought the efforts were being made to destroy Ukrainian culture and wondered, “Why do the Russians hate us?”
Jared Cohen, Jigsaw’s chief executive and assistant senior fellow at the US Council on Foreign Relations, spoke in depth about the cyber war and how it was waged during the war in Ukraine.
“Like air, land and sea, the Internet has become a critical domain to be conquered during war,” he said, describing what Ukraine has experienced so far as a “crystal ball of what is likely to come” in the future. .
He focused on “vectors of attack”, including critical infrastructure, through “traditional hacking”; distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks or malicious attempts to disrupt normal website traffic; and medium and large attacks – or “micro-floods” – that can significantly increase the complexity of attacks.
Mr. Cohen cited online efforts to undermine Ukraine’s government and leadership.
As an example, “profound counterfeits of alleged cocaine addiction have been used to back down and fuel a campaign of harassment against the president. [Volodymyr] Zelenski, to undermine his credibility in an attempt to turn his support to Russia, he said.