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Recognizing the Holodomor as genocide is a step to honor the memory of the victims – Dr. Horodyskyy


Dr. Ivan Horodyskyy, Vice-President of the Ukrainian Bar Association, appealed to the Danish parliament with a сordial request to make every effort to establish justice for the victims of the Holodomor by recognizing it as genocide. The expert spoke during the commemorative event “Holodomor – 90: impact on Ukraine and the future of justice” held at Ukraine House in Denmark on Nov. 25.

“For many Ukrainians, Denmark is the best example of what the idea of Europe is and should be. In Ukraine, they see and appreciate how unconditionally you supported us and your contribution to our struggle - from F-16 fighter jets to fresh water for the residents of front-line Mykolaiv… On behalf of the legal community of Ukraine, I appeal to our Danish friends with a request to make every effort to establish justice for the victims of the Holodomor by recognizing it as genocide,”

said Dr. Horodyskyy.



He reminded the audience that during 1932-33 about 4 million Ukrainians became victims of the Holodomor genocide, the gravest crime recognised by international law. The victims of the Holodomor were killed not only because of their nationality, language or religion but also because of their desire to protect private property and have freedom of choice — the very values shared by Ukraine's modern-day allies. Unfortunately, 90 years later, this fact often is not enough for full worldwide recognition of this crime as genocide.


Dr. Horodyskyy said that from a legal standpoint, there are many challenges to the recognition of the Holodomor as a crime of genocide. However, he noted that many of the possible questions surrounding the recognition have been answered a long time ago.


On Dec. 9, the world will mark the anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on Genocide. Its co-author and creator of the crime's definition was Rafael Lemkin, a Second World War refugee and a thorough researcher of Nazi crimes.

Lemkin studied the legal system of the USSR and its criminal law. In 1953, he gave a speech to the Ukrainian diaspora in New York, the title of which was “Soviet Genocide in Ukraine," where he proclaimed that not only the Holodomor, but also the entire policy of the Soviet government aimed at destroying the identity of Ukrainians, was genocide.


In Dr. Horodyskyy’s opinion, Russia's aggression against Ukraine today is a continuation of its past practice of genocide in Ukraine – yet while it is clear that Holodomor of 1932-1933 was a genocide, it will take longer to gather evidence for Russia's current war against Ukraine and qualify it as genocide.


“The problem is that in 1948, different compromises were made and the Genocide Convention envisaged only physical genocide. Rafael Lemkin’s definition of genocide included notions that were broader and went beyond that of physical destruction. It included cultural genocide, social genocide, and many other types of genocide which we can see now in the temporary Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine,” explained Dr. Horodyskyy.


Photos: Alex Benes



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