On the issue of criminal-legal evaluation of hate speech in the context of the war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine


  • Maksym Iatsyna


hate speech, hate crime, war, aggression, propaganda


On the question of the criminal legal assessment of hate speech in the context of the russian war against Ukraine. The article raises issues related to the use of hate speech in the context of the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine. The author outlines the concept of «hate speech», focusing on its definition in international legal acts, such as: the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and documents of international organizations, such as: the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations. The author summarizes that despite the existence of a large number of views on what should be understood by hate speech, however, it is worth emphasizing that all of them boil down to the fact that any hate speech is harmful because it undermines social cohesion, causes discrimination, divides society and can lead to violence, which is a step backwards for the cause of peace, stability, sustainable development and the realization of human rights for all.
Raising the criminal-legal aspect of hate speech, the author emphasizes that the phenomenon of hate speech from a criminal-legal point of view is understudied in Ukrainian science as a whole, as well as in criminal-legal science. Researchers of various fields in their interpretation of the concept reveal its various aspects. However, the author summarizes, a characteristic feature of hate speech that all researchers mention is that it is applied to a person or group based on who they are.
The author notes that as of today, in Ukraine there is still a limited possibility of prosecution for the use or distribution of «hate speech», as there is still no criminal liability for hate speech in Ukraine. One of the most common means of combating «hate speech» remains the prosecution of a person under Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Another potential article of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which can potentially be used to prosecute a person for hate speech, can be Art. 300 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
In the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the author notes, hate speech in Russian propaganda is a widespread problem that has far-reaching consequences for this bloodthirsty war. The use of inflammatory and offensive language in the mass media and on online platforms reinforces negative stereotypes and inflames the enmity of the Russian population towards Ukraine, and thus contributes to the atrocities that the Russian military is committing against the Ukrainian population.