Espreso. Global

Over 2,605 participants of “special military operation” convicted in Russia since February 2022

11 April, 2024 Thursday
21:10

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, at least 2,605 former and current participants of the war have been charged with criminal offenses in Russia

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This was reported by the Novaya Gazeta Europe publication.

1,130 of them were charged with "civil" crimes, the rest with crimes against military service. Most often, it is Article 337 — "unauthorized leaving the unit" or AWOL.

In more than half of all sentences, judges recognized participation in the war as a mitigating circumstance, and this share is higher in civilian units than in military ones.

Participation in the war is not directly listed as a mitigating circumstance. But over the two years of war, it has become common practice for Russian courts to reduce the sentences of members of the "special military operation".

At least 158 former and current participants in the war have been convicted for more than once. And among those who committed violent crimes against life and health, one in six soldiers has a criminal record.

The number of such crimes is increasing with every month of hostilities. According to the publication, in 2023, the number of sentences for war veterans increased sevenfold, and the number of violent crimes against life and health increased 13fold.

In particular, the number of violent crimes of a sexual nature has increased — in the first six months of 2023, military courts handed down a record number of such sentences.

According to a minimum estimate, 192 former and current members of the "special military operation" have been charged with violent crimes since the beginning of the invasion.

However, violent crimes committed by the military do not have a significant impact on the overall Russian criminal picture — for example, murders committed by members of the "special military operation" account for less than one percent of all murders in Russia.

In addition, war veterans are also being tried for drunken driving, drug trafficking, and fraud in receiving benefits. Along with the military, their weapons are also leaving Ukraine. In 2023, Russian courts received a record number of cases for trafficking in firearms, explosives, and ammunition in ten years.

Since the beginning of the Russia's war against Ukraine, according to the Global organized crime index, the volume of the black arms market has grown: the country now ranks second in Europe, behind only Ukraine, and is on par with Pakistan and some African countries.

The most popular article under which war veterans are prosecuted is AWOL. Since the beginning of the invasion, courts have passed 1,392 such sentences.

Most of the convicts received real terms. Another 30 soldiers who decided to lay down their arms were convicted of desertion. This article provides for a more severe punishment — up to 15 years in prison.

Along with the cases of desertion and AWOL, the courts received a record number of cases for evading military service in 10 years.





 
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