In an appeal to all parties to the conflict to respect internationally agreed rules of war, the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement that “international humanitarian law is not merely past but seem to be pushed aside”.
She added that the Russian armed forces were “indiscriminately shelling and bombing populated areas”, “killing civilians and destroying hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure”. , actions that could lead to war crimes”.
Amid the massive army build-up and clashes in the eastern region of the country, known as the Donbas, Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the United Nations rights office, OHCHRwarning of a new phase present in the war.
“There was a bloodbath,” said Mrs. Shamdasani. “We are talking about 2,343 – at least 2,343 civilians – who were killed and we are talking about the summary execution of more than 300 civilians. We are very concerned, we are very nervous about what is to come.”
A spokesman for the OHCHR confirmed that war crimes were committed, largely by Russian forces.
“Including indiscriminate shelling and bombing of densely populated areas, brief executions of civilians. Like I said, the majority of breaches so far have been by Russian forces, so if we just look at civilian casualties, 92.3% of what we’ve managed has been recorded. in the territories controlled by the Government, so it can be attributed to the Russian armed forces. ”
The Bucha Heritage
During a business trip to Bucha on April 9, United Nations human rights officials documented the illegal killing of some 50 civilians, including by summary execution.
“Almost every resident of Bucha [that] Our colleagues have talked, told us about the death of a loved one, a neighbor or even a stranger,” Ms. Shamdasani said, quoting the High Commissioner. “We know more needs to be done to uncover what happened there and we also know Bucha is not an isolated incident.”
During its investigations, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) multi-receiving more than 300 alleged killings of civilians in towns in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regionsall came under the control of the Russian armed forces in late February and early March.
Noting that the true death toll is almost certainly much higher than what has been confirmed so far, Shamdasani added that “the scale of the combined executions of civilians in areas where formerly occupied Russian forces” are also emerging.
Evidence must be preserved and the body disposed of in a respectful manner – WHO spokesman
“The preservation of evidence and the proper handling of corpses must be ensured, as well as psychological and other relief measures for victims and their loved ones.”
Health care near collapse
The desperate plight of civilians caught up in the fighting continues to alarm humanitarian agencies and their partners, including WHO.
The agency has so far been blocked from accessing some of the worst-affected areas in the east, where it was reported on Friday that the health system “has all collapsed”.
In Luhansk oblast, “nearly all medical facilities and hospitals… were damaged or destroyed,” said WHO spokesman Bhanu Bhatnagar from Lviv, western Ukraine.
“It is essential to quickly create a safe passage, we need to stop fighting for at least two days to move essential supplies in, but also to assess health needs. We anticipate the worst.”