Russian soldiers have raped and tortured children in Ukraine, a United Nations-appointed panel of independent legal experts said in a damning statement on Friday that concluded war crimes had been committed in the conflict.
A three-person Commission of Inquiry set up in April to investigate the conduct of hostilities in four areas of Ukraine laid out the graphic allegations in an unusually hard-hitting, 11-minute statement to the U.N Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“The commission has documented cases in which children have been raped, tortured, and unlawfully confined,” the panel’s chairman, Erik Mose, told the council.
He added: “Children have also been killed and injured in indiscriminate attacks with explosive weapons. The exposure to repeated explosions, crimes, forced displacement and separation from family members deeply affected their well-being and mental health.”
The report added more chilling allegations to the list of crimes widely reported by Ukrainian and international investigators probing the executions of civilians in Bucha and the mass burial site found near the town of Izium after it was recaptured by Ukrainian troops this month.
“Based on the evidence gathered by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine,” Mr. Mose said in his statement. He later told reporters that the commission had not yet concluded that violations amounted to crimes against humanity. [Continue reading…]