This report Attack on Funeral Reception in Hroza, 5 October 2023 was prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) through the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/53/L.1 on cooperation with and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights.
On 5 October 2023, an attack on a café in Hroza, a village in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine, killed 59 people who had gathered following a reburial ceremony of a local member of the Ukrainian armed forces. While Russian authorities have not explicitly acknowledged responsibility for the attack, a representative of the Russian authorities asserted that the funeral gathering was a legitimate military objective. Based on the information collected and its assessment further to standard methodology, OHCHR has reasonable grounds to believe that there were no military personnel or any other legitimate military target present at or in proximity to the reception at the café that followed the funeral held at the cemetery outside the village. The 59 people killed were civilians, not participating in hostilities, making the attack one of the deadliest individual incidents for civilians since 24 February 2022. OHCHR also has reasonable grounds to believe that the reception was the intended target of an attack by the Russian armed forces, using a precision weapon, likely an Iskander missile.
The findings in the report, on the standard of reasonable grounds, indicate that the Russian armed forces either (i) failed to do everything feasible to verify that the target to be attacked was a military objective, rather than civilians or civilian objects, or (ii) deliberately targeted civilians or civilian objects.
The Russian Federation is urged to acknowledge responsibility for the civilian casualties resulting from the attack, to conduct a full and transparent investigation into the attack to hold those responsible to account and prevent similar attacks from happening in the future, and to provide access to remedy, including reparations, for direct and indirect victims.
Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) through the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU)