Russia in spotlight over Ukraine atrocities as Human Rights Council meets

The UN Human Rights Council met in special session on Thursday in Geneva, prompted by increasing concern over atrocities committed against civilians, linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

Amid a mounting number of reports and testimonies pointing to possible war crimes in Ukraine particularly in areas controlled until recently by Russian forces, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said that the pattern of abuses continued to be caused “by the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas, such as shelling from heavy artillery, including multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes”.

Russian forces were likely responsible for most casualties, but so too Ukrainian troops – albeit to a far lesser extent – the UN rights chief said, in a video message.

Highlighting the latest harrowing findings of UN investigators in the Kyiv and Cherniviv regions, Ms. Bachelet told the forum that 1,000 civilian bodies had been found in the Kyiv region alone. Some had been killed in hostilities, but others appeared to have been summarily executed. More