UN human rights experts present evidence of war crimes in Ukraine
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GENEVA (AP) – A panel of experts commissioned by the United Nations human rights agency to look into rights abuses in Ukraine said on Friday its first investigation found war crimes committed in the country after Russia’s invasion of nearly 7 months ago.
Experts from the Ukrainian Commission of Inquiry, commissioned by the Human Rights Council earlier this year, have so far focused on four regions – Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy.
Presenting their most extensive findings to date, they cited former witnesses of beatings, electric shocks and indecent exposure in Russian facilities, and expressed deep concern about the death sentences in the four regions.
“We had many judgments in the areas we visited. The commission is currently investigating such deaths in 16 cities and towns,” Erik Mose, chairman of the commission told the council. He did not specify who or which side of the war was allegedly responsible for the killings.
Mose said his team had received and was documenting “credible allegations of multiple murder cases.” During a 10-day trip to Ukraine, the group visited Bucha, a town outside Kyiv where Ukrainian authorities found mass graves and bodies strewn on the streets after Russian troops withdrew late last year. in March.
The findings echoed reports by news agencies and others about the destruction, death and despair in Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion on February 24.
The committee’s work could ultimately help the work of prosecutors at the International Criminal Court who could bring charges of war crimes against Ukraine, although it is uncertain whether Russia or other alleged perpetrators will ever face justice.
Anton Korynevych, the ambassador general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, joined delegates from many Western countries who spoke about the war in Moscow after the commission presented it. The Russian delegation boycotted the council meeting.
Korynevych, speaking in a video, called for a special court with jurisdiction over “crimes of aggression against Ukraine” to investigate high-ranking Russian political and military leaders who are accused of They are children.
He said that accountability is important for the violations of rights and violations related to the “aggression” of Russia, but also highlighted how the impact of the war has “turned the whole world and “many countries are on the verge of starvation, exacerbate extreme poverty, create the threat of an “unprecedented nuclear disaster” that has damaged the livelihoods of millions of people around the world.
Investigators of the Investigative Committee of Ukraine visited 27 cities and towns, as well as cemeteries and detention and torture centers; interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses; and met with advocacy groups and government officials, Moses said.
“Based on the evidence gathered by the committee, they concluded that war crimes were committed in Ukraine,” he said.
He said the team investigated two incidents of ill-treatment of Russian soldiers by Ukrainian forces.
Muse said an unspecified number of Russian soldiers have been found guilty of sexual or gender-based violence – with victims ranging in age from 4 to 82 years old.
The Commission plans to gradually expand its investigation, with areas of interest including allegations of concentration camps where people are arrested or deported, to transfer people, and allegations of the hasty adoption of children.
“Evidence of Russian abuses is becoming more shocking every day, most recently with the discovery of mass graves in Izium, where bodies show signs of torture,” Michele Taylor, US ambassador to the Human Rights Council, said. referring to the city of Kharkiv that was recaptured by Ukrainian forces in recent weeks.
Taylor urged the committees to continue “investigating the growing evidence of Russian intelligence operations, forced deportations and disappearances.”
It cited “multiple sources” indicating that Russian authorities have interrogated, detained and/or forcibly deported between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, and reported that children were deported from Ukraine and placed in Russian orphanages for adoption.
German Ambassador Katharina Stasch added: “Make no mistake, we will hold those responsible for these crimes accountable.”
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