Thank you, Mr. Chair,
Norway is aligned with the statement made by Romania on behalf of the 45 invoking States and Ukraine.
For almost 50 days and nights, attacks by Russian forces have continued to batter the Ukrainian people and their cities – causing death and destruction.
We thank professors Benedek, Bilková and Sassóli for their efforts. We acknowledge that the mandate given to the Expert Mission was very broad, and the timeframe short. Despite that, we have received a thorough and convincing report.
It explains in a clear way what may constitute violations of international human rights law, international humanitarian law, war crimes or crimes against humanity in Ukraine after 24 February. The crimes range from pillage to abductions, torture, the use of indiscriminate weapons, gender-based violence and targeting of civilians. And much more. The conclusions of the Moscow Mechanism Expert Mission are clear, as listed by my Romanian colleague in the joint statement.
The Expert Mission has taken an unbiased approach in its investigations. It stresses that both Russia and Ukraine must abide by international humanitarian law in the war, and we welcome Ukraine’s stated intention to allow ICRC access to prisoners of war, for instance.
We have heard from the Expert Mission that the Russian aggression has made it very challenging for Ukrainian authorities to protect and fulfil the human rights of its population, and we are strongly concerned about the particular difficulties for vulnerable groups.
We are appalled by the accounts coming out of Ukraine, and deeply shocked by the atrocities committed against civilians, mostly by Russian armed forces. The expert mission’s report gives further credibility to these accounts.
Norway welcomes the establishment by the Human Rights Council of a Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, and we are pleased that the ICC has opened an investigation into the situation. We strongly support the documentation work, which is being done by Ukrainian civil society, also in cooperation with civil society from other countries. The report by the Moscow Mechanism Expert Mission is valuable in this picture, particularly in light of its early and convincing observations. The report gives OSCE structures and participating States impetus to take even further action.
Russia attempts to hide the truth about the war. But the world is watching. Atrocities are being investigated, and those responsible must be brought to justice.
Russia must comply with the order of the International Court of Justice to immediately suspend its military operations and to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. The killing and destruction must end.