GENEVA (dpa-AFX) – According to its own statements, a UN commission of inquiry has identified various Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Among other things, the experts documented sexual and gender-related acts of violence by some Russian soldiers, as Commission Chairman Erik Møse explained in a first oral interim report on Friday. The victims of these crimes are between 4 and 82 years old, he said at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. However, it had not been established that sexual abuse had been systematically used as a tactic of war.
The commission also highlighted that Russian units, contrary to international law of war, had attacked the Ukrainian civilian population. The investigators also emphasized that not only adults but also children were tortured, killed and expelled.
“Based on the evidence gathered, the commission concludes that war crimes were committed in Ukraine,” Møse said. The former President of the Rwanda Genocide Tribunal and his team plan to present their final report in March 2023.
The human rights experts’ investigation initially focused on the initial phase of the invasion in February and March and on the regions of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy. During visits to these theaters of war, the commission noticed a high number of executions. Victims were often arrested and tied up before they died. The dead had gunshot wounds to the heads and slashed throats. Investigations are currently underway in 16 locations, the report said, which did not name the number of victims.
“Witnesses have consistently reported torture and ill-treatment during unlawful detention,” Møse continued. Some said they were taken to Russia and held there for weeks. Torture methods included beatings and electric shocks. The commission also documented two cases in which Russian soldiers were mistreated by Ukrainian units.
Representatives of many states called for justice for the Ukrainian victims in the Human Rights Council. “We will hold those responsible for these crimes accountable,” said Germany’s Ambassador Katharina Stasch. Russian diplomats stayed away from the meeting./al/DP/stw