Some Russian assaults in Ukraine may be crimes against humanity, UN investigation finds

Some of Russia’s actions could be crimes against humanity
Russia used “Call to Putin” electroshock torture – investigation
Children forced to witness rapes are held next to corpses
Ukraine has also committed a small number of violations

GENEVA, March 16 (Reuters) – Russia has committed wide-ranging war crimes in Ukraine, including premeditated killings and torture, a UN-commissioned investigative body said on Thursday with Body.

The alleged crimes, including the deportation of children, were detailed in a report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry into Ukraine, which said some acts could amount to crimes against humanity.

At her weekly press briefing, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters Moscow regularly hears allegations like these.

She added that when those behind such reports support objectivity, “then we are ready to analyze specific cases, answer questions, provide data, statistics and facts.” But if they’re biased, if they’re just taking a stance… then there’s no point in responding to those reports.”

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Russia denies committing atrocities or attacking civilians in Ukraine.

Based on more than 500 interviews, plus satellite imagery and visits to places of detention and graves, the report comes as the International Criminal Court in The Hague is expected to seek the arrest of Russian officials for forcibly deporting children from Ukraine and attacking civilian infrastructure.

It said Russian forces had carried out “indiscriminate and disproportionate” attacks on Ukraine and called for those responsible to be held accountable.

“The ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine is having a devastating impact on various levels,” Erik Møse, the commission’s chairman, said at a news conference. “Human casualties and general disregard for the lives of civilians… are shocking.”

The report says at least 13 waves of Russian attacks since October on Ukraine’s energy-related infrastructure, as well as the use of torture, “could constitute crimes against humanity.”

It found that around 16,000 children had been unlawfully transferred and deported from Ukraine, citing a Ukrainian government official. Russia denies the accusation and says it voluntarily evacuated people from Ukraine.

Other children watched as their loved ones were raped or, in one case, held in a school basement along with the bodies of the deceased, the report said.

Victims in Russian detention centers were electroshocked with a military phone – a treatment known as “calling (Russian President Vladimir) Putin” – or hung from the ceiling in a “parrot position,” the report said.


The commission’s 18-page report will be presented to the Geneva Human Rights Council on Monday. Countries in the Council, the world’s only governmental human rights body, aim to broaden and deepen the Commission’s mandate.

Sometimes the Council’s investigations lead to prosecutions in international courts. The commission said it was working on a list of possible perpetrators, which would be forwarded to UN authorities.

Asked whether Russia’s actions could amount to genocide, as Ukraine believes, Møse said they hadn’t found any such evidence but would investigate further.

Ukraine, which has called for the creation of a special tribunal to try Russia’s political and military leaders for aggression over the invasion, said the commission is essential to ensure Russia is held accountable.

The Commission found reasonable grounds to conclude that the invasion of Ukraine constituted an act of aggression.

The report also noted that Ukrainian forces had committed a “small number of violations,” which appeared to include indiscriminate attacks and torture of prisoners of war. The Ukrainian Council Presidency was initially unavailable for comment.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétraut-Farber and Emma Farge; Additional reporting by Filipp Lebedev in Tbilisi; Edited by Anthony Deutsch and Raissa Kasolowsky, edited by William Maclean

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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