A United Nations commission of inquiry has found various Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
Among other things, the experts documented sexual and gender-related acts of violence by some Russian soldiers, Commission Chairman Erik Møse said in a first interim report in speech form on Friday.
“Based on the evidence gathered by the commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine,’’ he said.
The victims of the crimes mentioned are between 4 and 82 years old, the commission chair said at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
He noted that evidence did not suggest sexual violence had been used systematically as a war tactic, however.
The commission also said Russian units attacked Ukrainian civilians in violation of international law, with adults but also children were tortured, killed and displaced.
The human rights experts’ investigation initially focused on the beginning phase of Russia’s invasion in February and April, and on the regions of Kiev, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy.
During visits to these theatres of war, the commission noticed a high number of executions.
However, victims were often arrested and tied up before they died.
The dead had gunshot wounds to the head and slashed throats.
Witnesses had consistently reported torture and ill-treatment during illegal detention, Møse asserted.
Some victims said they were taken to Russia and held there for weeks.
Meanwhile, torture methods reportedly included beatings and electric shocks.
The commission also documented two cases in which Russian soldiers were mistreated by Ukrainian units.
Investigations are currently under way in 16 locations, the report said; it did not name the number of victims.
Møse, who is the former president of the Rwanda genocide tribunal, and his team intended to present their final report in March 2023.
Representatives of many states demanded justice for the Ukrainian victims at the Human Rights Council. “We will hold those responsible for these crimes accountable,’’ said Germany ambassador Katharina Stasch.
Russian diplomats did not attend the meeting.