The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Thursday passed a resolution to initiate an investigation into possible war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine.
The investigation will be conducted by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry, an independent commission under the UNHRC responsible for coordinating and reporting upon national and international investigations. The commission is charged with investigating events in areas of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions in late February and March 2022. The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether war crimes were committed, and if so, who should be held accountable.
The resolution passed by a majority with 33 votes in favor and 2 against. China and Eritrea were the two members who voted against the resolution, while 12 member states—including Cuba and India—abstained from voting.
Speaking to the council, Ukraine’s First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Emine Dzhaparova stated Ukrainians experienced the most gruesome human rights violations on the European continent in decades under Russian occupation.
Before the vote, Moscow’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva Gennady Gatilov wrote in a statement, “Instead of discussing the true causes that led to the crisis in this country and looking for ways to resolve them, the ‘collective West’ is organizing another political rout to demonize Russia.”
The UN General Assembly suspended Russia from the 47-member Council last month over allegations of human rights violations in Ukraine. Russia continues to deny allegations of abuses in Ukraine, insisting instead that they are conducting a “special military operation.”