The investigative mission established by the UN to examine the conflict in Ukraine found that the Russian forces have committed war crimes within the framework of the military offensive that began in February by order of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry into Syria showed “concern” about the “suffering” that the conflict is inflicting on the civilian population of Ukraine, evidenced in the high number of victims –more than 5 thousand 900 deaths, according to UN estimates – and for committing all kinds of abuses.
“The recent discovery of new graves illustrates the seriousness of the situation,” said the head of the commission.Erik Moses, alluding to the mass graves detected in areas such as Izium, one of the towns that Ukrainian forces have recently regained control of.
The experts visited 27 locations and interviewed more than 150 people to conclude that “war crimes have been committed in Ukraine.” The investigations focused on the areas of kyiv, Chernigov, Kharkov and Sumi, where they have seen “first hand” the damage caused by the attacks on civil infrastructure.
Thus, they confirmed use of explosive weapons in populated areas –even cluster bombs–, “one of the factors that would explain why a third of the Ukrainian population has been forced to flee, according to Mose. “Most of the attacks we have investigated have been perpetrated without distinguishing between civilians and combatants“, has declared.
The Commission also confirmed extrajudicial executions and tortureThey are detained, as evidenced by the fact that some of the bodies located have their hands tied behind their backs, shots to the head or stab wounds to the neck.
In addition, some of the victims have recounted that, after being arrested, they were forcibly transferred to Russia and subjected to all kinds of abuse. Part of them “have disappeared” after this transfer, reads the report released this Friday.
The experts also examine two cases of ill-treatment of Russian prisoners at the hands of Ukrainian forces. “Although they are less in number”, Mose has pointed out that they also pay attention to purge responsibilities on both sides, appealing to the impartiality and independence with which the commission claims to work.
Russian forces would also be responsible for sexual crimes on victims ranging from four at 82 years. The UN group “has documented cases in which minors have been raped, tortured and illegally detained”.
Mose specifically thanked the “access” and “cooperation” provided by the Government of Ukraine in the presentation of the report. Instead, he pointed out that Attempts to engage in a “constructive dialogue” have failed with the Russian authorities, although he has promised to “persist” in having contacts with the two parties.