20 Apr London law firm McCue Jury & Partners threatens to sue YouTube
McCue Jury & Partners has demanded that the video platform remove content glorifying Russian paramilitaries.
The London-headquartered human rights, civil liberties and litigation boutique firm McCue Jury & Partners has written to YouTube warning it that, should the company not remove videos promoting Wagner PMC from the Google-owned video-sharing platform within 24 hours, the firm will take the matter to court. Wagner PMC, more commonly known simply as the Wagner Group, comprises tens of thousands of Russian mercenaries, including many former convicts. It is renowned for its brutal tactics on the battlefield and is often accused of breaching the terms of the Geneva Conventions, especially with regard to the treatment of civilians. Only this week, in a video released by the Russian human rights group Gulago which is currently operating in exile in France, two former commanders are seen to claim that they murdered more than 20 Ukrainian children and teens in Bakhmut and the Donetsk region and, last week, a video was posted on a Russian social-media network showing a Ukrainian prisoner pleading for his life before being beheaded.
The Wagner Group is renowned for its brutal tactics on the battlefield and is often accused of breaching the terms of the Geneva Conventions
While there is no suggestion that such grisly content appears on YouTube, it does nonetheless host several videos glamourising the Wagner Group and raising funds for the Kremlin-backed paramilitaries. Jonathan Viner, a former deputy assistant US secretary of state for international law enforcement, told The Sunday Times that, in hosting the videos, YouTube may be breaching UK, US and EU sanctions regulations. Viner said: “They are generally prohibited like anyone else from providing any form of support to a sanctioned person unless they’ve received a specific licence. I know of no such licence that would entitle a person in the US, the UK or the EU to host recruiting videos and messaging on behalf of the Wagner Group. Beyond the question of whether a tech company is violating sanctions laws in hosting this material, disseminating Russian propaganda and disinformation is obviously the wrong thing to do. It’s hard to understand why, more than a year into the conflict, that kind of material is still getting through tech platform filters.”