UN inquiry commission finds further evidence of war crimes in Ukraine


New Delhi: Barely 48 hours after a UN Commission of Inquiry found the Putin administration guilty of war crimes in conflict with Ukraine, Russia has again launched a devastating missile attack on Ukrainian city of Kharkiv,  bringing death and destruction.

According to reports in the international media, six people have been killed and at least 14 wounded in a Russian missile hit a postal distribution centre in the northeastern part of Kharkiv on Sunday.

Oleh Synehubov, the region’s governor said on Telegram that several of the injured were in serious condition in hospital.“This is strictly a civilian site. The Russians have inflicted more terror on Kharkiv‘s peaceful population, ” he said.

The attack comes close on the heels of a UN report that has found Russian authorities guilty of war crimes and human rights violations in Ukraine, including torture, rape and the deportation of children.

The report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, published  last week, follows a study done in March.

It documents several more indiscriminate attacks with explosive weapons, resulting in deaths, injuries and the destruction and damage of civilian properties.

The Commission reports that 24 people, mostly women and children, were killed in an attack on a multistorey block of residential apartments in Uman, a city in the Cherkasy region, in April, and part of the building became uninhabitable. The Commissioners spoke with residents during their recent visit to the country.

The fresh investigations also confirmed previous findings that Russian authorities used torture in a widespread and systematic way in various types of detention facilities.

Russian authorities were found to have used the same pattern of torture in areas under their control, mainly against men suspected of passing information to the Ukrainian authorities or supporting the Ukrainian armed forces.

The UN investigators interviewed a large number of victims and witnesses who narrated incidents that show “a profound disregard towards human dignity by Russian authorities”. Witnesses reported situations in which torture had been committed so brutally that the victim finall succumbed to it.

Recent investigations in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions showed that rape and other sexual violence were often committed together with additional acts of violence, including severe beatings, strangling, suffocating, slashing, shooting next to the head of the victim, and wilful killing.

In one instance, a 75-year-old woman who stayed alone to protect her property, was raped and tortured by a Russian soldier who hit her on the face, chest, and ribs, and strangled her, while interrogating her.

The soldier ordered the woman to undress and when she refused, he ripped off her clothes, cut her abdomen with a small sharp object and raped her several times. The woman also suffered several broken ribs and teeth.

Such traumatic experiences have severe and long-term consequences for the physical and mental health of the victims, the report said.

The Commissioners investigated further accounts of Ukrainian children being transferred to Russia or to Russian-occupied areas in Ukraine. They concluded that the transfer of 31 children to Russia in May 2022 was an unlawful deportation, thus a war crime.

Their report also documents three cases where investigations showed that Ukrainian authorities committed violations of human rights against persons accused of collaboration with Russia.

They underlined the importance of accountability “with full respect and care for the rights of the victims.”

The UN Human Rights Council established the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine in March 2022, shortly after the start of the full-scale Russian invasion. The Commissio’s term  was extended in April for an additional year.


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