‘Ukraine is a Slaughterhouse, Right in the Heart of Europe’


Amal Clooney

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Amal Clooney at the United Nations

Amal Clooney is speaking out about the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Ukraine is, today, a slaughterhouse. Right in the heart of Europe,” Clooney, 44, said Wednesday at an informal United Nations Security Council meeting in New York City.

“Putin’s aggressive war is so outrageous that even after warnings from the US, and Russia’s long record, Ukrainians could not believe criminal this could happen,” she added.

She continued: “I still read news headlines not knowing how to process them. Could it be that thousands of children are being forcibly deported to Russia? Are teenage girls being raped on the street in front of their family and neighbors? Was a building that had the word ‘children’ painted on it bombed? Are civilians in Mariupol being systematically starved and tortured to death?, the answer is yes.”

In March, Clooney joined an international legal task force dedicated to investigating evidence of war crimes committed by Russian forces since their invasion of Ukraine was launched on February 24.

Through this and the work of the Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ), which she co-founded with husband George, 60, the human right’s lawyer hopes to bring perpetrators of serious crimes committed under the cover of combat to a courtroom.

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To make this possible, the CFJ already has a team on the ground investigating evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The data it collects will then be used to launch criminal cases in national courts around the world – under the principle of ‘universal jurisdiction’ – and to support the work of investigative bodies and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Body bags are lined up for identification by forensic personnel and police officers in the cemetery in Bucha, north of Kyiv, on April 6, 2022, after hundreds of civilians were found dead in areas from which Russian troops have withdrawn around Ukraine's capital, including the town of Bucha.  - Located 30 kilometers (19 miles) northwest of Kyiv's city centre, the town of Bucha was occupied by Russian forces on February 27 in the opening days of the war and remained under their control for a month.  After the bombardments stopped, Ukrainian forces were able to take the town.  Large numbers of bodies of men in civilian clothing have since been found in the streets.

Body bags are lined up for identification by forensic personnel and police officers in the cemetery in Bucha, north of Kyiv, on April 6, 2022, after hundreds of civilians were found dead in areas from which Russian troops have withdrawn around Ukraine’s capital, including the town of Bucha. – Located 30 kilometers (19 miles) northwest of Kyiv’s city centre, the town of Bucha was occupied by Russian forces on February 27 in the opening days of the war and remained under their control for a month. After the bombardments stopped, Ukrainian forces were able to take the town. Large numbers of bodies of men in civilian clothing have since been found in the streets.

RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty The war in Ukraine

At the same time the CFJ’s strategic partner, The Sentry, is investigating the Kremlin-backed mercenary firm Wagner Group, which is implicated in mass atrocities in the Central African Republic linked to the looting of gold, diamonds, and other resources vital to Russia’s attempts to minimise the impact of international sanctions.

“Here we are: faced with evidence of the crime of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity. And mounting evidence, each day, of genocide,” Amal continued Wednesday about the war in Ukraine.

Amal Clooney

Amal Clooney

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Amal Clooney at the United Nations

“Peace – like war – must be waged. It doesn’t just happen,” she added. “And justice, too, is something we must fight for.

“You may have to wait for someone to be out of office. You may have to wait for some of their underlings to defect. You may have to wait for them to get old. Or to travel. But if we remain very focused, and very resolute, justice may yet be within our reach”

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE’s complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.



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