Statement on the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine

March 22, 2023

On 20-21 March 2023, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine presented its report at the interactive dialogue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The Commission has concluded that Russian authorities have committed a wide range of violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in Ukraine. Many of these amount to war crimes and include wilful killings, attacks on civilians, unlawful confinement, torture, rape, and forced transfers and deportations of children. The Commission recommended further investigations of the Russian armed forces’ attacks on Ukraine’s energy-related infrastructure and the use of torture by Russian authorities which may amount to crimes against humanity.
Dr Kateryna Bondar addressed the Commission with the statement on behalf of the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations. She expressed full support of the proposed extension of the mandate of the Commission for an additional year and called for comprehensive accountability system, which was one of the central issues discussed by the Commission, delegations and non-governmental organisations at this interactive dialogue, including establishment of the special tribunal for the crime of aggression and compensation mechanism for victims.

“We thank the Commission for its investigation, findings and recommendations. We support that the Commission’s mandate should be extended to collect further evidence of war crimes, identify perpetrators and promote accountability.

Ukrainian law enforcement bodies have documented over 74,000 war crimes committed by the Russian army since February 2022. A number of war crimes have systematic and particularly cruel character and should be investigated further by the Commission. These include patterns of torture and unlawful confinement, willful killings, deliberate attacks on vital energy and civilian infrastructure, including 340 medical and over 3000 educational institutions. Rape has been used as a form of torture and as a weapon of war, including with announced purpose to prevent women from giving birth to Ukrainian children, while many cases remain unreported or will be reported later when the victims find strength to testify. Forcible deportations including transfers of children should be investigated further, including as an element of genocide.

Comprehensive accountability system should be a priority for international community. It is paramount to bring to justice those responsible, from Russian leaders to the last Russian soldier who committed war crimes, to establish urgently the special tribunal for the crime of aggression to deter the further aggression against Ukraine and similar attacks on sovereign states, and to establish compensation mechanism for victims. We expect that the evidence gathered by the Commission will be used by the International Criminal Court and other investigative bodies, courts and tribunals.”