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UN investigators say no findings yet of genocide within Ukraine

AFP . Geneva
17 Mar 2023 12:01:53 | Update: 17 Mar 2023 12:10:41
UN investigators say no findings yet of genocide within Ukraine
Chair of the Independent international commission of inquiry on Ukraine Erik Mose speaks during a news conference to present the report containing their latest findings in Geneva on March 16, 2023 — AFP Photo

A United Nations investigation into human rights violations in Ukraine since Russia's invasion of the country has not concluded that a genocide has taken place, its chair said Thursday.

"We have not found that there has been a genocide within Ukraine," Norwegian judge Erik Mose, the head of the investigation team, told a press conference in Geneva.

However, "we have noted that there are some aspects which may raise questions with respect to that crime... but we have not yet put in any conclusion here", he said.

Asked about specific accusations of genocide, including the forced transfer of Ukrainian children to areas under Russian control, Mose said: "We are absolutely aware of these possibilities, and we will pursue this if our mandate is being prolonged.

"Based on the evidence that we have been able to achieve since actually August last year until now, we have to go step by step and that is the reason why we are at the stage where we are.

"Where we will go depends on what we will find."

In its first report, the investigative team created by the UN Human Rights Council a year ago determined that Russia had committed a vast array of violations since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Russia's forced transfer and deportation of Ukrainian children to areas under its control amounts to a war crime, the investigators said, also warning of possible crimes against humanity.

The three-person commission headed by Mose was created last year, and the UN Human Rights Council will decide early next month whether to extend its one-year mandate.