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UN rights experts cite signs of war crimes in Ukraine

GENEVA – A team of experts mandated by the UN’s top human rights body to investigate human rights abuses in Ukraine said on Friday that its initial investigation had uncovered evidence of crimes of war in the country after the Russian invasion almost seven months ago.

Experts from the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, commissioned by the Human Rights Council earlier this year, have so far focused on four regions – Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy.

Presenting their most comprehensive findings to date, they cited testimonies from former detainees about beatings, electric shocks and forced nudity in Russian detention centers, and expressed serious concerns about executions in four regions.

“We were struck by the large number of executions in the areas we visited. The commission is currently investigating these deaths in 16 cities and settlements,” said Erik Mose, chairman of the commission. He said his team had received and were documenting “credible allegations regarding numerous other cases of executions”.

Investigators visited 27 towns and settlements, as well as graves and detention and torture centers; interviewed over 150 victims and witnesses; and met with advocacy groups and government officials, he said.

“Based on the evidence gathered by the commission, it concluded that war crimes were committed in Ukraine,” Mose said, without specifying who on which side of the war committed the alleged crimes.

He said the team looked at two cases of mistreatment of Russian soldiers by Ukrainian forces.

Mose said an unknown number of Russian soldiers had committed crimes of sexual or gender-based violence – with victims aged between 4 and 82.

The commission plans to gradually expand its investigation, with areas of interest including allegations of filter camps for those detained or deported, forcible transfer of people and allegations of accelerated adoption of children.

washingtonpost Gt

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