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Statement by the Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, Erik Møse, at the 34th special session of the Human Rights Council on “The deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression”


12 May 2022

12 May 2022

On behalf of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry I would like to thank the President of the Human Rights Council for inviting us to this special session. I have the pleasure of being accompanied by the two other members of the Commission, Ms Jasminka Džumhur and Mr Pablo de Greiff. 

Let me first give a brief overview of our work so far. The Commission members have had numerous remote meetings including discussions of relevance to the implementation of our mandate. On 27 April 2022, the Commission participated at the Security Council's Arria Formula Meeting about accountability for atrocities. As mentioned there, our purpose was to demonstrate in a visible way the Commission's availability to communicate with all stakeholders from the beginning.

This week the Commission convened in Geneva and held meetings with a large number of member states, NGOs based in Ukraine, and Geneva-based NGOs. We have also solicited the views of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine and the Prosecutor General of Ukraine. The Commission has sought contact with the Russian Federation and it remains ready to communicate with them.

We have exchanged views with the OHCHR Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and with the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights on co-ordination and co-operation within the framework of the mandate given to us by the resolution 49/1. Given the Mission's presence in Ukraine since 2014, resulting in over 40 reports, we consider this of utmost importance.

Considering the large number of entities that are investigating the situation in Ukraine, coordination issues were raised with several of the interlocutors that we met.

The Commission is - as stated in its mandate - independent. It has no link to any particular country, party, or entity. The Commission will continue to seek contact with the parties to the conflict, with victims, civil societies and other stakeholders. It will be necessary to build upon a broad range of sources, that will have to be considered together. The Commission will evaluate the evidence carefully, giving particular weight to primary evidence and seeking corroboration whenever needed. The findings of the commission, reported to the Human Rights Council, will be based on the independent assessment of the commissioners and their analysis of the information and evidence that comes out of their investigations. 

While not a strictly judicial instance, one of the Commission's tasks is to identify, where possible, individuals and entities responsible for violations or abuses of human rights or of international humanitarian law, or other related crimes.  The Commission intends to take a victim-centred approach to make recommendations about the full range of accountability measures.

We understand that the budgetary process assigning the resources to the Commission is ongoing. It is important that the Commission is provided with sufficient resources to be able to conduct its activities in full, with the necessary staff and the ability to visit Ukraine and other areas where information and evidence is available.

We have noted the draft resolution to be considered today. The Commission will continue implementing its mandate in accordance with the original resolution 49/1, taking into account the seriousness of the allegations that have been reported in relation to the events under consideration by the Human Rights Council at this special session.

We would like to use this opportunity to thank the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the support provided in this important process so far.