The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council approved Thursday in Geneva, by a large majority, to initiate an investigation on the possible war crimes attributed to Russian troops since they invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Members of the council voted in favor of a resolution, which ordered Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged atrocities in several regions around the Ukrainian capital.
33 members voted in favor, 2 opposed and 12 abstained from voting. China and Eritrea were the two members who did not support the resolution, while states such as Cuba, Kazakhstan, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela, refrained from exercising their vote.
“The Human Rights Council has voted to increase scrutiny on the “deteriorating human rights situation in #Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression,” particularly given events in #Mariupol and several other towns and cities,” tweeted the UN Human Rights Council.
Gennady Gatilov, Moscow’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, strongly criticized the decision.
“Instead of discussing the true causes that led to the crisis in this country and looking for ways to resolve them, the ‘collective West’ is organizing another political route to demonize Russia,” the Reuters news agency quoted an emailed statement.
Chinese ambassador Chen Xu also protested the “politicization” of the Council, saying the resolution could “add fuel to fire.”
Meanwhile, French Ambassador Jérôme Bonnafont, said “Russian aggression involves the discovery of facts that are more and more macabre every day.”
The UN urged Russia to immediately allow humanitarian workers access to civilians taken from Ukraine to Russia. Local officials and citizens accused Russians of moving Ukrainians across the border against their will.
Michelle Bachelet, UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, said there were quite a few examples of possible war crimes committed by Russian troops.
“The scale of unlawful killings, including indications of summary executions in areas to the north of Kyiv, is shocking,” she declared.
Ukraine’s First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Emine Dzhaparova, told the Council, the areas under Russian occupation in February and March, “have experienced the most gruesome human rights violations on the European continent in decades.”