December 1, 2023


An OSCE mission of experts found evidence of Russia’s war crimes and other crimes against humanity in Ukraine. The mission released a report Wednesday.

45 of the OSCE’s participating states created the mission last month to investigate possible offenses in Ukraine, including war crimes, and to provide information to international tribunals. Russia opposed it.

OSCE is an international organization that includes ex-cold war foes Russia and the United States, as well as various countries in Europe and Central Asia.

“The mission discovered clear patterns of IHL violations by the Russian Forces,” the report stated. It cited failures to take the necessary precautions, act proportionately, or spare schools and hospitals.

All violations of international humanitarian laws are not war crimes. Three professors from international law from Austria and Switzerland were part of the mission.

Russia’s mission to OSCE stated on Twitter that the report was “based only on unfounded propaganda, contains references and dubious sources, and logical stretches as the style of highly probable'”.

The report stated that Russia carried out an attack on Mariupol Maternity House in March and Children’s Hospital in Children’s Hospital on March 9. Russian denials were not true.

It stated that the attack on Mariupol’s Drama Theatre on March 16, in which approximately 300 people were killed by local Ukrainian officials, was a war crime.

It stated that “the Mission is not able to conclude whether the Russian attack against Ukraine per se may qualify for a widespread, systematic attack directed against civilian populations.” This refers to the context in the context where crimes such as murder and rape are crimes against humanity.

It stated that “It nevertheless holds that some patterns and violent acts violating IHRL, which have been repeatedly recorded in the course of conflict, such as targeted murder, enforced disappearance, or abductions civilians… are likely to satisfy this qualification.”

“Any single violent act or combination of these acts, whether committed in the context of an attack or with knowledge thereof, would be considered a crime against humanity.”

It also identified violations by Ukraine in particular in the treatment of prisoners of war. However, it stated that Russia’s violations were “far more severe in nature and magnitude”.

In a statement, U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE Michael Carpenter stated that the entire report “documents the catalogue of inhumanity perpetrated in Ukraine by Russia’s forces.”

“This includes evidence that civilians were targeted, attacked on medical facilities, rape and looting, as well as direct targets of civilians.


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