As the war between Russia and Ukraine surpasses its one-year mark, the human cost of the fighting continues to mount.
Beyond the loss of soldiers, the abuses suffered by civilians captured in the midst of war have mounted.
The United Nations (UN) said last month that at least 8,000 non-combatants had been killed in the war – a number they said was most likely significantly higher.
A new UN report released this week says both Russia and Ukraine have committed war crimes.
Here’s what you need to know about the new UN report.
Russia has widely used indiscriminate attacks and bombings
The independent international committee that submitted the report on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine to the UN found that the Russian military has consistently carried out indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on the civilian population.
According to international humanitarian law, indiscriminate attacks are those that are not aimed at a specific military target or employ methods that cannot be used to attack specific military locations.
The committee examined what it says is only a fraction of the total number of attacks in the war, but concluded that Russia attacked military and civilian targets indiscriminately.
“The fact of the attacks carried out or likely carried out by Russian forces, which the Commission investigated, led it to conclude that the majority of them were indiscriminate,” the report said. “In several attacks, the commission found that Russian forces did not take workable precautions to verify that civilians were present.”
The attacks include an April 2022 attack on a train station in Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine that killed 59 people and a June 2022 attack on a shopping center in downtown Kremenchuk that killed 21 people.
It is “probable” that Ukraine has violated international humanitarian law
The report found that the Ukrainian military has likely used cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines in Russian-controlled areas, resulting in “serious civilian injuries” and deaths.
International law prohibits any use of anti-personnel mines.
The report said it identified three instances where the military likely used cluster munitions in the city of Izium when it was under Russian control. The three blasts last summer killed at least five people and injured others, the report said.
“After considering the context of these incidents, in particular the attacks on an area at a time when it was controlled by Russian forces, the weapon systems used, the fact that the attacks were repeated and hit civilians or civilian objects, the commission considered it likely that Ukrainian forces carried out indiscriminate attacks in violation of international humanitarian law,” the commission said.
Russia carried out summary executions of Ukrainian civilians
The commission said it had confirmed the execution of at least 65 men, two women and a 14-year-old boy in areas controlled by the Russian military.
According to the report, in more than half of the executions examined, witnesses said they last saw the executed persons in the custody of Russian authorities. Some even reported seeing the executions carried out by the troops themselves. Others were found near military bases, leading the commission to conclude that Russia was likely responsible.
According to the report, executions were often preceded by detention, interrogation and torture, most often by shots in the head at close range.
“After considering the context of these incidents, in particular the attacks on an area at a time when it was controlled by Russian forces, the weapon systems used, the fact that the attacks were repeated and hit civilians or civilian objects, the commission considered it likely that Ukrainian forces carried out indiscriminate attacks in violation of international humanitarian law,” the report said.
Most executions took place in the Kiev region.
The Russian military has committed widespread torture of soldiers and civilians
The commission found that the Russian military has consistently used methods of torture against both combatants and civilians, targeting primarily military personnel, their families and civilians with pro-Ukrainian views.
Methods included beating with guns, taser shocks, rape, prolonged exposure to cold, and attaching an electrical cord to the feet, fingers, or genitals connected to a military phone in what was described as “calling Putin.” ”
“Based on the cases it has documented, the Commission has come to the conclusion that Russian authorities committed torture and cruel or inhuman treatment, which constitutes a war crime and a violation of the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” said the report.
The report also said that targeting certain groups of people and using the same methods all the time can constitute crimes against humanity.
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Source : thehill.com