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Donetsk POW March: When Is A Parade A War Crime?

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

When pro-Russian separatists marched captured Ukrainian soldiers at bayonet-point through the streets of Donetsk over the weekend, the crowd jeered, cursed, and hurled refuse at the haggard prisoners. 

It was a spectacle that shocked many, including human rights activists who called the procession a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions' rules on the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs). But whether the forced march constituted a war crime -- and whether it could be prosecuted as such -- is not so clear-cut, international law experts say.

This ambiguity lies largely in how the Ukraine conflict itself is classified, according to David Glazier, an international law expert at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

The rules for civil wars spelled out in the conventions ban "outrages upon personal dignity" and "humiliating and degrading treatment" of POWs. The rules for wars between governments set a lower bar by including a ban on subjecting these prisoners to "insults and public curiosity," both of which were on prominent display at the August 24 parade in Donetsk.

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A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Donetsk POW March: When Is A Parade A War Crime?

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