ECCHR assessment claims Russia attack on Mariupol Theater was a war crime

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) published Saturday a new legal assessment of the Russian attack on the Mariupol Theater in Ukraine, claiming that the attack was a “war crime” and deliberately done by the Russian Air Force to target Ukrainian civilians who sought refuge in the theater.

The Center for Spatial Technologies collaborated with the ECCHR to analyze the attack on the Mariupol Drama Theater. ECCHR’s report, based on extensive research, including eyewitness accounts and technical assessments, concluded that the attack likely constituted a war crime committed by Russian forces. The report states that despite Russian authorities denying involvement and blaming Ukrainian forces, evidence strongly suggests an airstrike by Russian forces intentionally targeted the civilian theater.

The report goes on to state that the deliberate choice to strike a civilian shelter, marked with “CHILDREN” signs, indicates knowledge of civilian presence and creates a responsibility to avoid civilian casualties. Additionally, ECCHR suggested the attack may also constitute a crime against humanity, given the broader context of civilian harm in Mariupol.

President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, shared a post on X (formerly Twitter) on the second anniversary of the attack. He stated:

Mariupol. Drama Theater. The letters “Children.” Two years have passed… The world must remember everything Russia has done to Ukraine and Ukrainians, and each Russian murderer must be held accountable for their actions. We will ensure their accountability. Eternal memory to everyone whose lives were taken by Russian terror.

The Mariupol Theater Bombing occurred on March 16, 2022, during the Russia-Ukraine War. The theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, was reportedly hit by Russian airstrikes, resulting in numerous casualties, including civilians seeking shelter from the ongoing conflict. The attack sparked international condemnation and renewed calls for an end to the violence in Ukraine.