Every Russian soldier who commits rape in Ukraine must be held accountable at the International Criminal Court

Sexual violence

"Sexual violence is not a weapon of war, but a horrendous violation of women's dignity. It is appalling that it is being used as a weapon of war in Europe: every soldier and combatant who has committed such heinous crimes must be held to account at the Hague. There can be no impunity where these atrocities are concerned”, stressed Elżbieta Łukacijewska MEP, EPP Group negotiator of the European Parliament’s Resolution calling for a gender-sensitive approach to humanitarian action and support for Ukrainian women, in her immediate reaction after the vote.

“For this purpose, the International Criminal Court must scrupulously collect evidence of war crimes and set up all the instruments needed", demanded the MEP. “The atrocities inflicted by Russian troops on Ukrainian civilians must not go unpunished. To ensure this, a proper reporting mechanism is needed within the EU and Ukraine to collect evidence and bring these cases to justice.”

“Putin’s military invasion of Ukraine is also an assault against Ukrainian women that will have long-lasting consequences on survivors, their families and society as a whole. The EU must stand up for Ukrainian women. We need justice and support for survivors now, so that they can get their lives back", she further emphasised. "Furthermore, we need to make sure these horrendous atrocities are never repeated again in human history.”

Since its outset, Putin’s war has forced millions of Ukrainians, mainly women and children, to flee their homes and seek refuge and assistance in European Union countries. It has also exposed the cruelty of Russian soldiers committing murder, torture, deportation and other inhuman acts against civilians, using rape and sexual violence, mostly against women and children.

In addition, it is imperative to provide survivors of sexual violence and rape with adequate healthcare, both mental and physical.

As the war rages in Ukraine's south and east, reports suggest that there are over half a million people being forcibly deported to Russia, mostly women and children, with more than 2,300 abducted children sent to Russia. “The Geneva Convention, prohibiting forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territories, must be respected and they must be released without further delay”, urged Mrs Łukacijewska.

According to her, the Geneva Convention must also be respected in cases of captivity, as many Ukrainian female soldiers recently released from Russian captivity had been tortured and mistreated by the invaders. “The Red Cross must take responsibility for identifying the whereabouts of prisoners of war and ensuring that they are being treated humanely.”

“Throughout Poland and other neighbouring countries, masses of people stepped up to provide aid to the millions of Ukrainian refugees displaced after Russia’s aggressive invasion. The spirit of solidarity and compassion was and still is outstanding”, said Mrs Łukacijewska, who has also opened her home to four Ukrainian women fleeing the war. However, “in order to provide long-lasting and effective help to the refugees, we still need the European Union’s systemic solutions and mechanisms to be put in place”, she warned, emphasising the need to work together to deliver the best assistance and reception for women and child refugees. “Direct assistance that would go straight to those on the frontline of the crisis - local governments, charities and NGOs - is needed as they are running out of money and the governments often fail to get involved”, she concluded.

Note to editors

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 176 Members from all EU Member States

What we stand for