The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine Friday updated the Human Rights Council that based on the evidence gathered, Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine.
The Commission had been set up in March through Resolution 49/1 with a mandate to investigate the alleged violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes in Ukraine by the Russian Federation. Subsequently, in May, through Resolution S-34/1, the Commission was tasked to particularly investigate the areas of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy, where serious allegations of human rights abuses stemming from the Russian aggression were made.
The Commission chairperson, Erik Møse, briefed the Council that the commission visited 27 towns and interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses, and inspected sites of “destruction, graves, places of detention and torture, as well as weapon remnants.” The Commission noted that the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas has been a source of immense harm and suffering. The Commission also commented that a number of attacks investigated had been carried out without “distinguishing between civilians and combatants.”
Møse said that the Commission was concerned by the number of executions in the areas it visited, noting that there were many credible allegations and it was presently investigating such deaths in 16 towns and settlements. Møse also informed the Council the Commission found that “common elements” of such crimes included “visible signs of executions on bodies, such as hands tied behind backs, gunshot wounds to the head, and slit throats.”
The Commission also found that some Russian Federation soldiers had committed sexual and gender-based violence; and that it had documented cases where children had been raped, tortured, unlawfully confined, killed and injured in indiscriminate attacks with explosive weapons.
This update is in line with a recent report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which found that the Russian aggression against Ukraine had led to grave deterioration of human rights in the country.