Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine: latest comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council
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Press Conferences , Edited News | HRC

HRC - Press Conference: Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine - 15 March 2024

STORYLINE

New evidence of widespread and systematic torture by Russian forces in Ukraine, say UN-appointed independent rights investigators

Fresh evidence of severe and systematic abuse, including likely war crimes, perpetrated by Russian forces in Ukraine were revealed on Friday by UN-appointed independent rights investigators.

“The new evidence strengthens the Commission's previous findings that torture used by Russian authorities in Ukraine and in the Russian Federation has been widespread and systematic. The latest investigation focused on cases of torture of Ukrainian prisoners of war,” said Erik Møse, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, speaking to reporters at the United Nations in Geneva.

The report highlights an escalation in civilian suffering two years following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, attributing the violations to a disregard for fundamental humanitarian principles and to the obligations to uphold human rights.

The findings reflect information gathered from March 2023 to March 2024, when the Commission travelled to Ukraine 16 times, visiting 34 settlements in nine provinces and interviewing 816 people.

The siege and indiscriminate bombardment of Mariupol were an additional focus of the report, which assessed the grave impact on civilians of the fighting from the outset of the full-scale invasion until the end of May 2022. 

Fighting in Mariupol city damaged or destroyed at least 58 medical buildings, according to the data gathered by the Commission. 

“Residents described unbearable suffering endured during relentless shelling and aerial bombardments which caused large scale death, injury and destruction,” said Mr. Møse. “People interviewed by the Commission recalled seeing large number of dead bodies on the streets, in the rubble of their houses and in the city's hospitals.”

Incidents of rape and other sexual violence were also examined in the Commission's report. 

“The Commission investigated incidents of rape and other sexual violence committed against women in circumstances which also amount to torture. It also details incidents of torture with a sexualized dimension and threats of rape against Ukrainian male prisoners of war,” said Commission member Vrinda Grover.

The investigations found additional evidence concerning the unlawful transfer of children to areas under Russian control. “In its current report, it concludes that the transfer of a group of 46 children from the Kherson regional children home to Crimea was not temporary and hence amounts to war crime of unlawful transfer,” Ms. Grover said.

According to the Commission, indiscriminate attacks by Russian forces have led to the destruction and damage of civilian objects, including those that are protected under international law –  such as hospitals and cultural property.

“In this report, the Commission has documented for the first-time attacks by Russian authorities affecting cultural property and seizure of cultural objects,” noted Vrinda Grover. 

“We have found that in the summer of 2023, the Russian armed forces committed indiscriminate attacks in Odessa city, affecting several buildings and the Transfiguration Cathedral located in the historic center,” she added.

The attacks were, at the time, severely condemned by UNESCO,  as violence against cultural heritage of Ukraine that stands in contravention of international conventions on the protection of cultural property and world heritage. 

-ends-

 

STORY: Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine – Latest report 

 

TRT: 2:35”

SOURCE: UNTV CH 

RESTRICTIONS: NONE 

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS 

ASPECT RATIO: 16:9 

DATELINE: 15 March 2024 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 

 

  1. Exterior medium shot: UN flag alley  
  2. Wide shot: speakers at the press conference with photographers in front of them
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) – Erik Møse, Chair of the Commission: “The new evidence strengthens the Commission's previous findings that torture used by Russian authorities in Ukraine and in the Russian Federation has been widespread and systematic. The latest investigation focused on cases of torture of Ukrainian prisoners of war.”
  4. Wide shot: speakers at the press conference with journalists in the room
  5. SOUNDBITE (English) – Erik Møse, Chair of the Commission: “Residents described unbearable suffering endured during relentless shelling and aerial bombardments, which caused large scale death, injury and destruction. People interviewed by the Commission recalled seeing large number of dead bodies on the streets, in the rubble of their houses and in the city's hospitals.”
  6. Wide shot: speakers at the podium from behind with photographers
  7. SOUNDBITE (English) – Vrinda Grover, Commissioner: “In this report, the Commission has documented for the first-time attacks by Russian authorities affecting cultural property and seizure of cultural objects. We have found that in the summer of 2023, the Russian armed forces committed indiscriminate attacks in Odessa city, affecting several buildings and the Transfiguration Cathedral located in the historic center.”
  8. Wide shot: speaker at the podium with journalists and photographers in press room
  9. SOUNDBITE (English) – Vrinda Grover, Commissioner: “The Commission investigated incidents of rape and other sexual violence committed against women in circumstances which also amount to torture. It also details incidents of torture with a sexualized dimension and threats of rape against Ukrainian male prisoners of war.”
  10. Close up: photographers taking pictures
  11. SOUNDBITE (English) - Vrinda Grover, Commissioner: “In its current report, it concludes that the transfer of a group of 46 children from the Kherson regional children home to Crimea was not temporary and hence amounts to war crime of unlawful transfer.”
  12. Wide shot, photographers taking pictures
  13. Medium shot, speakers at podium
  14. Close up, journalist taking photos with phone


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