UN-backed human rights experts have uncovered ongoing evidence of war crimes committed by Russian forces in the Ukraine conflict, including acts of torture and rape against women as old as 83 years. Members of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine have also raised concerns regarding allegations of genocide by Russian forces, promising further investigation. While acknowledging crimes on both sides, the evidence points to a significantly higher number and wider variety of abuses committed by Russian forces compared to Ukrainian troops.
The commission presented its latest findings during an oral update to the Human Rights Council, highlighting unlawful attacks with explosive weapons, sexual and gender-based violence, and other violations as the conflict entered its 20th month. Commission chair Erik Mose expressed his concern over the continued evidence of war crimes committed by Russian armed forces, emphasizing that some victims of torture suffered such brutal treatment that it resulted in their deaths.
The primary targets of torture were individuals suspected of being informants for Ukrainian forces, with reports of electric shock usage. The commission's report also detailed instances of Russian soldiers in Ukraine's Kherson region sexually assaulting women ranging from 19 to 83 years old, often with family members forced to hear the violations occurring in adjacent rooms.
Notably, there was no representative from Russia present at the UN office in Geneva where the council received Mose's comments. Last year, Russia lost its seat in the UN General Assembly due to its actions in Ukraine.
Regarding cooperation, the experts reported receiving limited feedback from the Russian side but noted considerable cooperation from Ukraine. Commission member Pablo de Greiff stressed the importance of improved access to information from Russia to ensure a thorough and impartial examination of the situation.
The UN-backed human rights experts remain committed to shedding light on the ongoing human rights violations in the Ukraine conflict, emphasizing the need for comprehensive and balanced investigations to bring justice to the victims.