Investigations in Ukraine: UN sees evidence of Russian war crimes

As of: 09/23/2022 6:42 p.m

A UN team of experts has found “conclusive” evidence in Ukraine’s Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions that Russian soldiers committed war crimes – including executions and rapes.

UN investigators have found numerous war crimes in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Based on the evidence collected, the commission came to the conclusion “that war crimes were committed in Ukraine,” Erik Mose, head of the Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations in Ukraine, told the UN Human Rights Council.

executions and rapes

Moses added that there was evidence of numerous executions of people with their hands tied behind their backs, children being raped and tortured. According to investigators, there have been acts of sexual and gender-based violence by Russian soldiers, and in some cases relatives have been forced to witness the crimes.

The rapid classification as a war crime without a court being involved is unusual. However, according to the three-person independent team of experts, the evidence is clear. However, it is not yet possible to say whether the acts are crimes against humanity.

Cases in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions

So far, investigators have only investigated cases in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions. They visited 27 cities, interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses, and examined graves, places of detention and torture, and remains of weapons, among other things.

Moses told reporters that investigators had also “processed two incidents of mistreatment of Russian Federation soldiers by Ukrainian forces.” Looking ahead, Moses announced the team would expand the investigation to include so-called filtration camps, alleged forced displacement and alleged Ukrainian children taken to Russia for adoption.

Guterres: “Catalog of Cruelty”

On Thursday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres had already raised serious allegations against Russia at a meeting of the UN Security Council. Citing UN human rights reports, he spoke of a “catalog of cruelty,” of “extrajudicial executions, sexual violence, torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment of civilians and prisoners of war.” “All of these allegations must be carefully investigated to ensure accountability,” the UN Secretary-General said.

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