OSCE SHDM II Pre-Event
“Moscow Mechanism report on Ukraine. Next steps for the OSCE.”
(16 May 2022, 9:00 – 11:30 CET at Haus der Musik, Seilerstätte 30, 1010 Vienna, Austria)
Recommendations regarding the next Moscow Mechanism Report on the
state of human and civil rights in the context of the Russian war on Ukraine
• Human rights activists emphasize the significance of the report of the Moscow Mechanism and other international missions and organizations, being important for decision-making by various institutions and constituting a strong source of information.
• We stress out a need to issue such reports at regular intervals.
• Even though the Moscow Mechanism does not investigate crimes, future reports should offer clearer conclusions as well as analyze the relationship of the events and describe this.
• Future reporting should also:
o Work on the basis that the armed conflict in Ukraine started in 2014, with Russia already having already violated IHL norms in occupied Crimea.
o Focus on Russian handling of the bodies of the Ukrainian military.
o Address issues around humanitarian corridors, evacuation efforts and the supply of the population with food and water which have been systematically disrupted by the Russian military. Russia has denied responsibility for these disruptions, though evidence is available
o Focus on Russian “filtration camps”.
o Focus on “marauding” by the Russian soldiers as well as seizure of public and private property without any obvious military necessity. Evidence shows that such seizures are widespread and that the Russian military does not compensate the confiscated property.
o Address the illegal capture and detention of medical staff and clergy by the Russian military.
Oleksandra Romantsova (Center for Civil Liberties and Euromaidan SOS)
• The report of the OSCE Mission, should be an occasion to update decision-making procedures for sending missions.
• The goal must be to change the existing framework in a way that rapporteurs would have sufficient time, provision and qualified specialists for full-fledged monitoring in the framework of the armed conflict in Ukraine.
• T the operational work of the Moscow Mechanism concerning the situation in Ukraine should also serve as a blueprint for working with other countries, such as Belarus.
Maria Kurinna (ZMINA Human Rights Center, member of the Human Rights House Crimea and
Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv)
• Given the scale of the problem, there is a need to ensure that Ukrainian citizens can leave Russia.
Therefore, it is necessary to document forced deportation as one of the international crimes under the Rome Statute, which is systematically and purposefully committed by Russia against Ukrainians.
• Further support given to Canadian diplomatic efforts in Russia to issue temporary documents, enabling Ukrainian citizens, who have found themselves in Russia against their will and do not have ID documents, to leave Russia.
• Further investigation is needed on the number of children deported from Ukraine; the number of Ukrainians detained in the occupied territories for “filtration measures”; the number, location, and occupancy rate of “TACs”; and the importance of international access to TACs;
• Taking into consideration that the Moscow Mechanism experts were unable to visit Ukraine as safe access to the places of potential violations could not be guaranteed at the time of the preparation of the Moscow Mechanism report, it is recommended to continue using the Moscow Mechanism to document potential violations on the ground in the settlements where secureaccess can currently be provided.
Antanina Maslyka (Netherlands Helsinki Committee)
• The 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. It is recommended to continue initiating the Moscow Mechanism as a tool allowing the documentation of violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law within the framework of the OSCE.
• The current report and any subsequent reports should contribute towards ensuring accountability for the crimes committed in Ukraine. Such reporting should assist investigations if a state decides to use a universal jurisdiction mechanism, or to take them into consideration within the framework of other investigative mechanisms that have already been launched or will be launched within other international organizations (e.g. the COI launched by the UNHRC).
• In the investigation and documentation of war crimes and crimes against humanity, it is also very important to preserve the agency of Ukrainian actors involved in these processes. OSCE participating States, therefore, should ensure that representatives of Ukrainian civil society who
already have years of experience in documenting war crimes on the territory of their country are utilized in investigation efforts undertaken at the international level.
• The report’s observations indicate that despite Belarus allowing “its territory to be used to launch Russian attacks on Ukraine, the Mission considers that as of 1 April, Belarus is not a party to the international armed conflict as long as it does not itself commit acts of violence or other acts that would constitute direct participation in the hostilities by persons attributable to Belarus.” This negatively affects the efforts directed at ending impunity for the violations committed by the Belarusian authorities. By contrast, the UN General Assembly resolution on aggression against Ukraine adopted on 1 March 2022, the involvement of Belarus in the unlawful use of force against Ukraine is “deplored” and Belarus is called upon to abide by its international obligations.