The recent Moscow Mechanism report covers the events that took place during the period from 24 February until 1 April 2022 but the war is ongoing and new developments and violations continue to take place every day. OSCE participating States should continue to use the Moscow Mechanism to assist in the documentation of violations of IHL and IHRL within the framework of the OSCE. We welcome the announcement on 2 June 2022 by 45 participating States to launch the Moscow Mechanism again.
Participating States which launch the Moscow Mechanism should work on the basis that the armed conflict in Ukraine started in 2014 with Russia’s invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea. Since that time, there have been violations of IHL and IHRL which continue since the re-invasion on 24 February 2022.
Ukrainian civil society has years of experience in documenting war crimes on the territory of Ukraine. It is important to preserve their agency and utilise them in investigation efforts undertaken at the international level. At the same time, OSCE participating States should ensure that any accountability efforts initiated under the auspices of the OSCE operate in close coordination with investigative and accountability mechanisms established elsewhere.
Moscow Mechanism experts were unable to visit Ukraine due to security concerns. As the security situation in Ukraine shifts, and in the event of the Moscow Mechanism being initiated again, experts should make all reasonable efforts to visit sites of potential IHRL and IHL violations, even those reported on previously.
The following issues must feature in future Moscow Mechanism mandates:
- Handling of both military personnel and civilian casualties
- Status of systematic disruptions to humanitarian relief; including, establishing and maintaining humanitarian corridors and other evacuations as well as provision of food, water, and medicine
- Set-up and practice of so-called “filtration camps” in Ukrainian territories occupied prior to 24 February 2022
- Forced deportation of those in Ukraine to Russia, including children, and challenges for those who wish to leave Russia
- Seizure of public and private property by military forces
- Capture and detention of medical staff, clergy, and staff and other personnel of international organisations
- Use of the territory of Belarus in the execution of, as well as Belarus as a party to, the international armed conflict