In addition to the joint statement delivered by Albania, I would like to give the following statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and my own country Norway.
Once again, 45 participating States have supported Ukraine in invoking the Moscow Mechanism. The Nordic countries stand in full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. We condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s blatant war of aggression against Ukraine, supported by Belarus.
We thank professors Bílková, Guercio, and Sancin for their efforts. The conclusions of this Moscow Mechanism expert mission are clear, as listed by my Albanian colleague in the joint statement read earlier. The mission’s report gives credibility to appalling accounts of deeply shocking atrocities coming out of Ukraine.
A pattern of serious mistreatment of civilians in areas under the temporary control of the Russian armed forces is once again documented. Persons in vulnerable situations – the elderly, children, national and ethnic minorities, LGBTI persons, human rights defenders, internally displaced persons, and persons with disabilities – are especially exposed. The report also confirms the increase in sexual and gender-based violence. Women and girls are specifically impacted and exposed to the horrors of trafficking as well as sexual violence, whether in temporarily occupied regions, as IDPs or as refugees fleeing Ukraine.
This Mission has also elaborated on two alarming concerns not broadly discussed by the previous Mission. These are the Russian use of filtration centers and the fact that the Russian Federation hands detained persons over to the two so-called “People’s Republics,” allowing for further violations such as the imposition of the death penalty.
We stand firm that those responsible for these grave breaches of international humanitarian law and serious violations and abuses of international human rights law must – and will – be held to account. Accountability includes the responsibility of States for violations of international law, as well as of those individuals who may be responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity.
Russia attempts to hide the truth about the war, but the world is watching. The violations and crimes will continue to be documented in detail. Impunity is not an option. There might still be a long way to go, but war crimes will not go unpunished.
We support the work of the ICJ, the ICC, the UN Commission of Inquiry, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, and civil society, and call on all those involved in the collection and preservation of evidence to coordinate proactively. This is particularly important to avoid re-traumatisation of survivors and to ensure complementarity and the meticulous collection of the most precise evidence available.
The OSCE Moscow Mechanism is an important contribution to ensuring accountability and compliance with OSCE commitments. We will seek to ensure that the findings of the two expert missions feed into the other international accountability processes.
As the European security architecture has been shaken by Russia’s war of aggression, it is more important than ever to keep multilateral organizations such as the OSCE operational and responsive. All elements of the toolbox of the OSCE, which has been developed over the course of many decades, must be used in response to the Russian aggression.
The human dimension is an indispensable component of the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security. All participating States confirmed in Moscow in 1991, and our Heads of State and Government later reconfirmed in Astana in 2010, that “commitments undertaken in the field of the human dimension are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States”. Indeed, in the case of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, non-implementation of core human dimension commitments, is among the root causes to the conflict. For instance, the lack of a free media has allowed disinformation and propaganda to fuel tensions and create a pretext for the war.
Russia bears full responsibility for the unspeakable human suffering and tragedies, the loss of so many lives, massive displacement, and destruction across Ukraine. We call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally cease the hostilities, withdraw all its troops from Ukraine and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders and territorial waters.