Wide range of crimes Russian crimes in Ukraine

Russian attacks on civilians in Ukraine, including systematic killings, torture, deportation of children and indiscriminate attacks on infrastructure, amount to war crimes, Commission of Inquiry report finds of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Russian authorities have committed a wide range of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in various parts of Ukraine, many of which could constitute war crimes.

UN investigators say Russian forces carried out ‘indiscriminate and disproportionate’ attacks on Ukraine, used torture, killed civilians outside of combat and failed to take measures to protect the Ukrainian population .

Investigators also blame Moscow for carrying out attacks using explosive weapons in populated areas “with apparent disregard for the damage and suffering of civilians, without taking necessary precautions”.

These war crimes also include unlawful detentions, rape and other sexual violence, as well as unlawful transfers and deportations of children, which could constitute war crimes and violations of the right to life.

Repeated attacks targeting infrastructure

These attacks were carried out “indiscriminately and disproportionately, in violation of international humanitarian law”, said the Commission, noting that it was struck by the scale of the destruction it observed during its visits.

The Commission visited 56 localities and interviewed 348 women and 247 men. Its investigators inspected destruction sites, graves, places of detention and torture, as well as the remains of weapons, and consulted a large number of documents and reports.

Among the potential war crimes, the report cites the repeated attacks targeting Ukrainian infrastructure since the fall, which deprived hundreds of thousands of people of heating and electricity in the middle of winter. But the Commission notes that further investigation is needed.

Attacks on energy infrastructure have left entire regions and millions of people without power and heat for extended periods, especially in freezing temperatures.

At another level, the Commission also examined the numerous cases of rape and sexual and gender-based violence committed by the Russian authorities when they carried out house-to-house visits in the localities placed under their control and during illegal detentions.

Transfer of Ukrainian children

Regarding the relocation of Ukrainian children in areas under Moscow control and in Russia itself constitutes a “war crime”. “The situations she examined concerning the transfer and deportation of children, inside Ukraine and to the Russian Federation respectively, violate international humanitarian law and amount to a war crime”, write the investigators in their first report written since Russia launched its offensive in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Witnesses told the Commission that many young transferred children have not been able to establish contact with their families and risk losing them indefinitely. Delay in the repatriation of civilians can also constitute a war crime.

In addition, UN investigators noted a “small number” of apparent violations committed by Ukrainian forces, including likely indiscriminate attacks. The Commission also reports “two incidents qualified as war crimes, during which Russian prisoners of war were shot, wounded and tortured”.

In the face of these abuses, the Commission recommends that all violations and crimes be investigated and those responsible held to account, whether nationally or internationally. It calls for a comprehensive approach to accountability, which encompasses both criminal responsibility and the victims’ right to truth, reparation and non-repetition.

Previous Post Next Post