Statement on Accountability and Compensation for Russian War Crimes and Ecocide at UN Human Rights Council

June 28, 2023

Dr Kateryna Bondar, WFUWO Main Representative to the UN in Geneva, speaking at the Interactive Dialogue on the Annual Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights during the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 21 June 2023. While the report covered a large scope of topics and human rights situations in different countries, Dr Kateryna Bondar focused her statement on the war crime and ecocide of destruction of Kakhovka dam by Russian forces, including the issue of Russia’s accountability for war crimes and compensation for victims.
“We thank the High Commissioner for the report and for the OHCHR’s mission in Ukraine. Since 2014 and especially since the full-scale war, the Russian Federation has been killing, torturing, terrorising and deporting the Ukrainian civilian population, destroying homes and civilian infrastructure.
The recent explosion of the Kakhovka dam by Russian forces is another war crime committed by the Russian Federation in complete disregard of international humanitarian law. It is a blatant ecocide, a barbaric destruction of the environment that threatens the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. It has endangered the life and safety of tens of thousands of people, depriving them of their homes and compromising access to drinking water. It has destroyed a unique ecosystem with its wildlife, and has polluted the Black Sea. It will also negatively affect food security in the world. Not only has Russia failed to evacuate affected residents in the territories that it temporarily occupies, but Russia has also continued the shelling of areas that are under Ukrainian control, complicating or preventing safe evacuation and causing further casualties.
What concrete steps can be taken to address the genocidal policy in the Russian Federation’s aggression against the Ukrainian people, and to establish mechanisms for the accountability of Russia for its war crimes and the proper compensation of the victims of these crimes, including the sexual violence being inflicted by the Russian army during this war?”