HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL - 53rd SESSION : Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner on Ukraine Joint statement by the Group of Friends - Speech | 12-07-2023 - PR UN, WTO and other organisations Geneva

Human Rights Council- 53rd Session - Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner on Ukraine - Speech | 12-07-2023

Joint statement by the Group of Friends

Delivered by H.E. Paul Bekkers, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on behalf of the Group of Friends

Mr. President, Mr High Commissioner,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the 'Group of Friends of Accountability following the aggression against Ukraine'.

763 men, 94 women, and 7 boys unlawfully detained, 72 men and 5 women summarily executed [1]

These numbers, presented in your reports, paint a clear picture of the serious violations of international humanitarian law and egregious human rights violations and abuses perpetrated since the launch of Russia’s full-scale, unprovoked and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. They depict the blatant disregard of the Russian authorities for their obligations under international law. But they only form the tip of the iceberg of human suffering as the OHCHR has recorded 25,170 civilian casualties since 24th February 2022.

Behind these numbers, there are individuals, their families and loved ones who suffer. This we must never forget. Especially not here, at this Council, which seeks to uphold the inherent dignity of every person.

Human dignity that has been denied time and time again by Russia. As shown by your report more than 91 per cent of civilian detainees held by Russia have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment, including through sexual violence.

These alarming findings from your report reinforce the need to ensure accountability for the serious crimes under international law committed on the territory of Ukraine, and ensure justice for all victims and the prevention of future crimes.

We, therefore, welcome the reporting of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine,  work by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, the investigation into the Ukraine situation by the International Criminal Court, the operationalization of the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine, the establishment of the Council of Europe’s Register of Damage, and the work of the Core Group towards a tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine. We call for work to continue on the path towards full accountability.

Thank you, Mr. President.

List of members of the Group of Friends of Accountability for the Aggression against Ukraine.

  1. Albania
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Belgium
  5. Bosnia-Herzegovina
  6. Bulgaria
  7. Canada
  8. Colombia
  9. Croatia
  10. Cyprus
  11. Czech Republic
  12. Denmark
  13. Estonia
  14. Finland
  15. France
  16. Georgia
  17. Germany
  18. Greece
  19. Guatemala
  20. Iceland
  21. Ireland
  22. Italy
  23. Japan
  24. Latvia
  25. Liechtenstein
  26. Lithuania
  27. Luxembourg
  28. Malta
  29. Republic of the Marshall Islands
  30. Moldova
  31. Montenegro
  32. Kingdom of the Netherlands
  33. New Zealand
  34. North Macedonia
  35. Norway
  36. Poland
  37. Portugal
  38. Republic of Korea
  39. Romania
  40. Slovakia
  41. Slovenia
  42. Spain
  43. Sweden
  44. Switzerland
  45. Ukraine
  46. United Kingdom
  47. United States
  48. EU Delegation

[1] These figures are based on paragraph 35 of the OHCHR report ‘Detention of civilians in the context of the armed attack by the Russian Federation against Ukraine’