Eric Mose, head of the Commission of Inquiry into Ukraine, speaks at a press conference in Geneva, September 23, 2023 UN experts recorded the commission of war crimes in Ukraine
According to the UN-authorized investigative body, war crimes, including rape, torture and deprivation of liberty of children, were committed in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories
War crimes, including rape, torture and deprivation of liberty of children, were committed in the occupied Russian territories of Ukraine, the head of the UN-authorized investigative body said on Friday.
Ukraine and its Western allies allege numerous human rights violations by Russian soldiers since the February 24 invasion, but Moscow denies the allegations, describing them as a “smear campaign.”
“Based on evidence collected by the Commission, she came to the conclusion that war crimes were committed in Ukraine,” said Eric Mose, head of the Commission of Inquiry into Ukraine, speaking at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
He did not specify who it was he who committed these crimes, but the commission focused on areas previously occupied by Russian troops, such as Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions.
Investigators from a commission set up by the UNHRC in March visited 27 locations and interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses.
According to Mose, they found evidence of a large number of executions, including finding bodies with their hands tied and their throats cut and gunshot wounds to the head.
He said investigators had identified victims of sexual assault ranging in age from four to 82. While some Russian soldiers have used sexual violence as a strategy, the commission “didn't find any general pattern in this regard,” Mose added.
Russia denies deliberately targeting civilians in a so-called “special military operation” ”.
Russia was urged to respond to the accusations at the council meeting, but its representatives were absent from today's session. There was no immediate official reaction from Moscow.
Next, the commission will turn its attention to allegations of “filtration” camps in Russian-occupied territories for the processing of Ukrainian prisoners, as well as allegations of forced displacement of people and the adoption of Ukrainian children in Russia.
Ukraine and some other countries called on the commission to also investigate a mass grave site near Izyum in eastern Ukraine where hundreds of bodies were found.
“Leaving this unanswered, (Russia's violations) will drag us into a dark world of impunity and permissiveness,” a Ukrainian spokesman said via video link Anton Korynevych
Sometimes the results of investigations launched by the UNHRC can be used in national and international courts, such as in the case of a former Syrian intelligence officer imprisoned for state-sponsored torture in Germany in January.
Mose said he had contacted the International Criminal Court about the commission's findings. This body is due to submit a full report to the council in March 2023, including recommendations on how to bring those responsible to justice.