In addition, Russian forces committed crimes against humanity in the wave of attacks that began in October 2022 against Ukrainian energy infrastructure, as well as against politicians who endorsed the use of torture by the Russian military.
“The committee concluded that the Russian armed forces carried out attacks with explosive weapons in populated areas with apparent disregard for the pain and damage to civilians,” said the report, which was presented to the press today and will be carried next week in Human . UN Rights Council.
During their investigation, members of the UN team (Erik Møse of Norway; Jasminka Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzegovina; and Pablo de Greiff of Colombia) traveled eight times to Ukraine, visiting 56 cities and interviewing nearly 600 people, as and visit destroyed sites, detention and torture centers, and witness all the remains of weapons and explosives scattered across the country.
The commission further stated that it had observed no genocide in Ukraine since the Russian invasion of the country, but recommended that investigations into the matter continue.
“We did not find that genocide has taken place in Ukraine,” Eric Moshe, one of three experts in charge of the investigation, told reporters.
Mose noted, however, “that certain aspects may raise questions about this type of crime.”
As Russian forces advanced into Ukrainian territory, the deaths of civilians unrelated to the hostilities, as well as their detention and internment in purpose-built facilities in occupied Ukraine and Russia, increased, according to the document.
In these places, mistreatment quickly turned into torture for reasons as trivial as “speaking Ukrainian” or “not remembering the words of the Russian national anthem.” Russian soldiers broke into private homes and committed sexual violence or threatened to use it against women and men, it said.
Of the children deported to Russian territory, witnesses heard by the commission said the youngest may have permanently lost contact with their families.
On the other hand, the commission’s investigations also made it possible to establish that the invasion of Russia and the attacks against Ukraine may constitute an act of aggression, which can be investigated and the International Criminal Court (ICC) can initiate legal proceedings.
The commission also investigated human rights violations and excesses committed by Ukrainian forces, although in this case it found “a small number of violations,” notably two incidents in which Russian soldiers were injured, tortured or shot, “which could to be classified as a war crime”.
From their interviews, the commissioners concluded that the greatest desire of the Ukrainian population, and in particular the victims of atrocities, is for justice to be served and those responsible – including the perpetrators – to be brought to justice, nationally or internationally.
“What is needed is an approach to accountability that includes both criminal responsibility and victims’ right to truth, reparation and non-repetition,” the report said.