UN investigators accuse Moscow of war crimes | War in Ukraine
< p class="sc-v64krj-0 knjbxw">The UN has declared that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine based on evidence collected by its commission of inquiry.
Far from the usual cautious wording of the UN, investigators from the organization on Friday accused Moscow of having committed a “considerable number” of war crimes in four Ukrainian regions in the first weeks of the war. the Russian invasion.
On the other hand, they judged that it was too early to speak of crimes against humanity, contrary to what; say NGOs and Ukraine.
This UN Commission of Inquiry presented to the Human Rights Council the first conclusions of its investigation into serious human rights violations committed by Russian forces in the regions of kyiv, Cherniguiv, Kharkiv and Sumy, located in northern and northeastern Ukraine.
Investigators focused specifically on these four regions following a request to that effect made in May by the Council. Another resolution, passed in March by the Council, asks them to investigate across the country, and they are to release a comprehensive report on this in March 2023.
In the meantime, on the basis of the evidence collected by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine, in these four regions, the chairman of the commission, Erik Mose, told the Council, listing Russian bombardments of civilian areas, numerous executions, torture and ill-treatment as well as sexual violence.
He told the media that investigations had shown a considerable number of war crimes committed by Russians, while only two cases of mistreatment of Russian soldiers by Ukrainian forces had been found so far during the period concerned.
There is a considerable difference between war crimes committed on a very large scale on the one hand, and on the other, two cases of mistreatment, added another investigator, Pablo de Greiff.
The UN has raised suspicions of war crimes, but we are the first UN fact-finding mission to find war crimes in these four regions, Mose said.
International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan opened an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine just days after the Russian invasion.
And the French ambassador Jérôme Bonnafont denounced Friday, before the Council, the Russian invasion which is accompanied in particular by murders, torture, forced deportations, all this being constitutive of as many war crimes and, perhaps – justice will decide – crimes against humanity.
But so far we haven't found any crimes against humanity, Mose said. We will continue our investigations. It's a general strategy of this committee to say what we believe in, and at this point, that's where we are.
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The commission was launched in March by the Human Rights Council, at the request of Kyiv. The Council subsequently approved a new resolution in May calling on the commission to specifically investigate violations by Russian troops in the Kyiv, Cherniguiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions.
During the investigations in these four regions, the commission visited 27 cities and towns and interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses, Mose explained.
We were struck by the large number of executions in the regions we visited. The Commission is currently investigating these deaths in 16 cities and locations. We have received credible allegations regarding many other cases of executions, which we are in the process of documenting, he said.
The bodies found share common characteristics of having visible signs of executions, such as hands tied behind their backs, gunshot wounds to the head, or slit throats.< /p>
Mr. Mose also denounced Russia's use of explosive weapons with a wide area impact on civilian areas.
In addition, the witnesses, he said, provided consistent accounts of ill-treatment and torture, which took place during their unlawful detention.
Some of the victims reported that after initial detention by Russian forces in Ukraine, they were transferred to Russia and held for weeks in prisons.
Interlocutors described beatings, electric shocks and forced nudity, as well as other types of violations in these places of detention, underlined Mr. Mose, who also notes that after being transferred in custody in Russia, some victims are said to have disappeared.
Cases of sexual violence have also been reported to UN investigators. In some cases, relatives were coerced into witnessing these crimes.
In the cases investigated by the commission, the age of the victims of violence sexual or gender-based violence ranged from 4 to 82 years old.
The commission also documented cases where children were raped, tortured and unlawfully confined. Children have also been killed and injured in indiscriminate explosive weapon attacks, Mose said.
He also briefly indicated that the commission had to deal with two cases of mistreatment of Russian soldiers by Ukrainian forces.
Although few in number, these cases continue to be the subject of our attention, he assured.