Russia. UN-backed investigation accuses Russia of war crimes in Ukraine

GENEVA: Russian attacks on civilians in Ukraine, including systematic torture and killings in occupied regions, constitute war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity, according to a report from an investigation supported by the released on Thursday.
The sweeping human rights report, released a year to the day after a Russian airstrike on a theater in Mariupol killed hundreds of shelters inside, marked a highly unusual condemnation from a member of the UN Security Council.
Among potential crimes against humanity, the report cites repeated attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure since the fall that left hundreds of thousands of people without heat or electricity during the coldest months, as well as the “systematic use and widespread” torture in several regions under Russian occupation.
“There were elements of planning and availability of resources that indicate that the Russian authorities may have committed acts of torture as crimes against humanity,” he said. Erik Mosean old Norwegian Supreme Court and judge of the European Court of Human Rights who conducted the investigation.
The investigation also revealed crimes committed against Ukrainians on Russian territory, including deported Ukrainian children who were prevented from reuniting with their families, a “filtration” system aimed at isolating Ukrainians for detention, as well as torture and inhuman conditions of detention.
A commission of inquiry is the most powerful tool used by the UN-backed Human Rights Council to examine abuses and violations around the world. The survey published on Thursday was set up during an urgent debate shortly after the Russian invasion last year.
The commission’s three members are independent human rights experts, and its staff are supported and funded by the UN human rights council and office.
The report’s authors noted a “small number” of apparent violations by Ukrainian forces, including one which they said was the subject of a criminal investigation by Ukrainian authorities, but reserved the vast majority of their report for allegations against Russia.
Russia did not respond to inquiries from the investigation.
Most of the abuses uncovered by the investigation were already well known, and the report is far from the first to accuse Russia of war crimes. However, the findings of the inquiry come with the imprimatur of the international community: the experts are working under a mandate created overwhelmingly last year by the Human Rights Council, which brings together the governments of 47 UN member countries.
Mose, who served as president of an international tribunal set up to prosecute genocide cases from the massacre of members of Rwanda’s ethnic Tutsi minority in 1994, said investigators had created a list of individuals to be held accountable for the human rights violations in Ukraine.
He said the list would be “submitted to the competent authorities in this matter”, but the team acknowledged the difficulty of investigations involving a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Ultimately, the report can contribute to efforts to strengthen accountability for crimes committed during war – whether by the International Criminal Court or by certain individual countries that have taken the right to apply “universal jurisdiction” to prosecute atrocities wherever they occur. .


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