by Emma Farge
GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations-mandated investigators are examining the impact of Russian attacks on strategic infrastructure in Ukraine to see if they could amount to war crimes, a member of the team said on Friday. ‘inspection.
Russian missiles have been targeting Ukraine’s electrical installations since early October, causing widespread blackouts and depriving millions of people of heating.
Moscow says the raids do not target civilians and are intended to reduce Ukraine’s combat capabilities and get it to negotiate. Kyiv denounces war crimes against the civilian population.
“Part of the analyzes we are currently carrying out (…) aims to determine whether these attacks constitute war crimes,” said Pablo de Greiff, who was speaking from Kyiv, at a press conference.
If so, the fact-finding mission will endeavor to make its contribution so that these crimes do not go unpunished, he said.
The fact-finding mission, composed of three members and created by the UN Human Rights Council last March, has already concluded that Russia has committed war crimes in areas occupied by its forces in Ukraine . Moscow denies these accusations.
According to Jasminka Džumhurs, another member of the mission, UN investigators have interviewed Ukrainian mothers and are particularly concerned about the impact of the attacks on children’s rights.
Many cannot get to their schools, which have been damaged or destroyed, and power cuts are disrupting online lessons, she said.
“These events have disastrous consequences for a large number of people,” added the chairman of the fact-finding mission, Erik Møse. “It goes without saying that it’s something we’re looking at.”
The mission is collecting material which it will present to the Geneva Council next March, the team members said.
Evidence collected during previous investigations mandated by the Human Rights Council has been used in national and international courts.
(Report Emma Farge, French version Jean-Stéphane Brosse)