Tuesday, 25 October ‘22

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 25 October ‘22

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 25 October, 2022

UN Special Commission Details Russian Violations

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine reported that

“Russian armed forces are responsible for the vast majority of the violations [it] identified” while documenting breaches of international law between late February and March 2022 in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Sumy regions.

On October 18, the three-expert commission, established by the UN human rights council on March 4, 2022, published its report detailing indiscriminate attacks using cluster munitions, unguided rockets and air strikes as Russian armed forces attempted to capture towns and smaller settlements.

“Russian armed forces have shot at civilians attempting to flee and… have deployed their military assets and troops in ways that can endanger civilians, in contravention of international humanitarian law,” the document read. The report stated that Ukrainian forces have also committed international humanitarian law violations, including two incidents that qualify as war crimes.

“Illegal Transfers” from Kherson Denounced

The Zmina Centre for Human Rights has decried what it defined as Russia’s illegal transfer of both civilians and prisoners of war in the southern region of Kherson.

On October 21, Russian-installed authorities ordered all residents of the port city of Kherson to leave immediately as Ukrainian troops waged a counteroffensive to recapture the occupied area. Ukrainian officials have urged local residents to resist attempts to relocate them, amid fears that Moscow wanted to take civilians hostage and use them as human shields.

As of October 22, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies had opened 42 criminal proceedings in the liberated areas of Kherson against Russian troops, largely related to shelling of civilian infrastructure.

Investigators inspected and recorded the consequences of systematic shelling of the Novovorontsov, Kochubeyiv and Visokopil communities, where homes, educational institutions, social and critical infrastructure were destroyed due to shelling. There are no military facilities on the territory.

Police Exhume 146 Bodies in Lyman

On October 20, investigators announced the exhumation of 146 bodies at the largest mass burial site in Lyman, discovered after the village in the Donetsk region was liberated on October 2. The majority of the unearthed bodies, 111, were of civilians, including five children, while the remaining 35 were of military personnel.

Police stated that the challenge ahead was to establish the identity and cause of death of each person. According to preliminary data, some died from explosive and shrapnel wounds as a result of Russian shelling, as well as from natural causes. There were also bodies with signs of violent death. The number of people who were executed by Russian soldiers will be made public after all the examinations have been completed.

Donetsk region police appealed to relatives of those who died during the occupation of Lyman to submit DNA samples. 

Shelling Amounts to War Crimes, Say Rights Groups

The prosecutor general’s office initiated proceedings over Russian shelling attacks on Ukraine energy and other critical civilian infrastructures, which rights groups like Amnesty International say amount to war crimes.

On October 20, Ukrainian authorities announced power outages across the country, after Russian attacks seriously damaged about 40 per cent of all energy facilities. Energy minister Herman Galushchenko said that in the ten days between October 10 and 20, Russia carried out some 300 strikes on Ukraine's energy system, destroying 30 per cent of the country’s power plants.

Russian troops have increased the shelling of energy infrastructure facilities, using cruise and surface-to-surface air missiles as well as Iran-supplied Shahed-136 kamikaze drones. Facilities were damaged in Dnipro, Kropyvnytskyi, Rivne, Khmelnitsky and Zhytomyr regions. Amid ongoing efforts to repair the damaged facilities, Ukrainian authorities have resorted to planned power outages.

Ukraine Works on Establishing Criminal Tribunal

Andrii Smirnov, deputy head of the office of the president of Ukraine, stated that Ukrainian authorities were working on a multilateral treaty to establish a special criminal tribunal for crimes committed by the Russian Federation.

Smirnov, who coordinates the working group tasked with defining the framework, said that drafts of working documents have already been sent to international partners.

Anton Korynevich, ambassador-at-large of Ukraine’s foreign ministry, stated that one option would be for Kyiv to establish a special court, “based on a multilateral agreement between countries. This means that Ukraine and the governments of other states can sign and ratify the agreement on the creation of such a tribunal and its statute, which will be an appendix to this agreement”.

Another option would be agreements between Ukraine and international organisations such as the UN, which can adopt a relevant resolution. Alternatively, Ukraine can conclude a corresponding agreement with regional organisations, for example, the UE or the Council of Europe, since Russia’s invasion has caused the largest war in Europe since WWII.

This publication was prepared under the “Ukraine Voices Project" implemented with the financial support of the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO).

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