War crimes were committed in Ukraine, UN-mandated inquiry concludes

The chair of an independent Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine reported on Friday that it had concluded that war crimes had been committed in Ukraine following investigations conducted in four regions of the country.

“Based on the evidence gathered by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine,” Erik Møse told the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.

He did not say explicitly who had committed the crimes, but the commission’s work was focused on areas of Ukraine previously occupied by Russian forces such as Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy.

Investigators from the commission, which was created by the UN Human Rights Council in March, visited 27 places and interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses.

They found a large number of executions in the visited areas, including bodies with tied hands, slit throats and gunshot wounds to the head, Mr Møse reported.

He also added that the investigators had identified victims of sexual violence aged between four and 82 years old. Children have been raped, tortured and unlawfully confined, he went on to say.

Sometimes investigations launched by the Council can be used before national and international courts, such as in the case of a former Syrian intelligence officer jailed for state-backed torture in Germany in January.

Russia was called on to respond to the allegations at the council meeting but its seat was left empty.

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