AP

UN rights experts present evidence of war crimes in Ukraine

Sep 23, 2022, 5:33 AM | Updated: 2:11 pm

An aerial view of the destruction of residential buildings on Sept. 20, 2022, in Izium, Ukraine. Iz...

An aerial view of the destruction of residential buildings on Sept. 20, 2022, in Izium, Ukraine. Izium was occupied by Russians since April 1st causing major destruction and death to the small city. In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces have reclaimed villages east and south of Kharkiv, as Russian forces have withdrawn from areas they've occupied since early in the war. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

(Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

GENEVA (AP) — A team of experts commissioned by the U.N.’s top human rights body to look into rights violations in Ukraine said Friday its initial investigation turned up evidence of war crimes in the country following Russia’s invasion nearly seven months ago.

The experts from the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, mandated by Human Rights Council earlier this year, have so far focused on four regions – Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy.

Presenting their most extensive findings so far, they cited testimonies by former detainees of beatings, electric shocks and forced nudity in Russian detention facilities, and expressed grave concerns about executions in the four regions.

“We were struck by the large number of executions in the areas that we visited. The commission is currently investigating such deaths in 16 towns and settlements,” Erik Mose, the commission chairman, told the council. He didn’t specify who or which side in the war allegedly committed the killings.

Mose said his team had received and was documenting “credible allegations regarding many more cases of executions.” During a 10-day June trip to Ukraine, the team visited Bucha, a city outside Kyiv where Ukrainian authorities found mass graves and bodies strewn in the streets after Russian forces pulled out in late March.

The findings echo reports by news outlets and others of the destruction, death and despair in Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion on Feb. 24.

The commission’s work could ultimately contribute to the work of International Criminal Court prosecutors who could bring charges over war crimes in Ukraine, although it remains uncertain whether Russia or other alleged perpetrators will ever face justice.

Anton Korynevych, ambassador-at-large for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, joined envoys from a number of Western countries who spoke out against Moscow’s war in the wake of the commission’s presentation. Russia’s delegation boycotted the council meeting.

Korynevych, speaking by video, called for the creation of a special tribunal that would have jurisdiction “over the crime of aggression against Ukraine” and investigate senior Russian political and military leaders who were allegedly responsible.

He said said accountability was crucial for rights violations and atrocities linked to Russia’s “aggression” but also highlighted how the effects of the war has ’rippled through the world and “put numerous countries on the verge of hunger, exacerbated extreme poverty, created the threat of nuclear catastrophe unseen before” and harmed the livelihoods of millions worldwide.

Investigators for the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine visited 27 towns and settlements, as well as graves and detention and torture centers; interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses; and met with advocacy groups and government officials, Mose said.

“Based on the evidence gathered by the commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine,” he said.

He said the team had examined two incidents of ill-treatment against Russian soldiers by Ukrainian forces.

Mose said an unspecified number of Russian soldiers were found to have committed crimes of sexual or gender-based violence – with victims ranging in age from 4 to 82 years old.

The commission plans to gradually expand its investigation, with areas of interest including allegations of filtration camps for people being detained or deported, the forced transfer of people, and allegations of expedited adoption of children.

“The evidence of Russia’s atrocities becomes more horrifying by the day, most recently with the uncovering of mass graves in Izium, where the bodies show signs of torture,” Michele Taylor, the U.S. ambassador to the Human Rights Council, said, referring to a Kharkiv region city that Ukrainian forces recaptured in recent weeks.

Taylor urged the commissioners to continue to “examine the growing evidence of Russia’s filtration operations, forced deportations and disappearances.”

She referred to “numerous sources” that indicated Russian authorities have interrogated, detained and/or forcibly deported between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, and reports that children were being deported from Ukraine and placed in Russian orphanages for adoption.

Added German ambassador Katharina Stasch: “Make no mistake, we will hold those who are responsible for these crimes accountable.”

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

KSL 5 TV Live

AP

Snow in Little Cottonwood Canyon...

Scott Sonner and Stefanie Dazio, Associated Press

Stretch of I-80 shut down as monster blizzard dumps snow on mountains in California and Nevada

California authorities shut down 100 miles of Interstate 80 on Friday as the biggest snow storm of the season bore down on the Sierra Nevada.

7 hours ago

FILE: Ballots are counted by Maricopa County Elections Department staff ahead of Tuesdays election ...

Associated Press

Arizona’s new voting laws that require proof of citizenship are not discriminatory, a US judge rules

A U.S. district judge has ruled Arizona legislators did not discriminate when they adopted laws requiring counties to verify the status of registered voters who haven’t provided proof of U.S. citizenship.

7 hours ago

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, listens as his attorne...

Farnoush Amiri and Lisa Mascaro, Associated Press

Takeaways from Hunter Biden’s combative deposition with Republican lawmakers

The transcript of the congressional deposition of Hunter Biden has been released. It reveals the contentious testimony that took place Wednesday as Republicans scrambled to advance an impeachment inquiry on the brink of collapse.

10 hours ago

Damage to a property burned by the Smokehouse Creek Fire is seen Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, in Canad...

Associated Press

Gov. Abbott says Texas wildfires may have destroyed up to 500 structures

Wildfires have destroyed as many as 500 structures in the Texas Panhandle, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday, describing how the largest blaze in state history scorched everything in its path, leaving ashes in its wake.

12 hours ago

Palestinians walk through the destruction from the Israeli offensive in Jabaliya refugee camp in th...

Zeke Miller, Aamer Madhani and Matthew Lee

Biden approves military airdrops of aid into Gaza after chaotic encounter left more than 100 dead

President Joe Biden says that the U.S. will begin air-dropping humanitarian assistance into Gaza, a day after more than 100 of Palestinians were killed during a chaotic encounter with Israeli troops.

14 hours ago

FILE - This image, contained in the indictment against former President Donald Trump, and partially...

Eric Tucker, Adriana Gomez Licon and Freida Frisaro

Judge in Trump’s classified documents case is expected to set a trial date during a crucial hearing

The federal judge overseeing the classified documents prosecution of Donald Trump is expected to set a trial date.

21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

UN rights experts present evidence of war crimes in Ukraine