The mass grave of 436 bodies in the city of Izum is the latest, in time, gruesome revelation of the horrors taking place over the past seven months in Ukraine. A few days after the crime in Izum came to light, a UN report comes to admit what everyone knew: war crimes are being committed in Ukraine.
Shelling by Russian forces on civilian areas, executions, torture and mistreatment and rapes. Rapes children, women, elderly of all sexes, from 4 to 82 years old, even in front of their relatives. Children were tortured or imprisoned. These are some of the findings of the UN investigation into what is happening in Ukraine.
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine was established in March by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate human rights violations committed by Russian forces.
The Council then adopted a new resolution in May, calling on the commission to specifically investigate serious human rights violations committed by Russian forces in its territories Kiev, her Chernihiv, of Kharkiv and Sumi’s.
During its investigations in those four areas, the commission visited 27 cities and towns and interviewed more than 150 victims and eyewitnesses, its chairman Eric Mose explained in an initial oral presentation of the report before the Council. “Based on the evidence it collected, the Commission concluded that war crimes were committed in Ukraineits head noted.
“We were shocked by large number of executions in the areas we visited. The Commission is now investigating these deaths in 16 cities and towns. We have received credible complaints regarding several other cases of executions, which we are now documenting,” noted Moses.
The common feature of the bodies found are the visible signs of executions that they bear, such as hands tied behind the back, bullet wounds to the head or cut throats.
Moze also denounced the shelling of civilian areas by Russian forces.
Torture and rape
The witnesses, he added, gave converging accounts of ill-treatment and torture committed during their illegal detention. Some of the victims reported that, after an initial detention by Russian forces in Ukraine, they were taken to Russia and held for weeks in prisons.
“They said that they were beaten, electrocuted and forced to be naked, as well as other kinds of violations in these detention centers,” Moze pointed out, who also noted that after being transferred to detention centers in Russia, some victims disappeared.
Cases of sexual violence were also reported to UN investigators. In some cases, relatives were forced to be present when the rapes were committed. In the cases investigated by the committee, the age of victims of sexual or gender-based violence ranged from 4 to 82 years.
The committee also documented cases in which children were raped, tortured and illegally imprisoned. “Children were also killed and injured in indiscriminate attacks with explosive weapons,” Moshe complained.
He finally mentioned that the committee also had to deal with two cases of ill-treatment of Russian soldiers by Ukrainian forces. “Although they are not many, these cases are still the subject of our attention,” he assured.