May 12, 2022 - World

UN Human Rights Council votes to start war crimes probe in Kyiv

Picture of Michelle Bachelet

Michelle Bachelet, UN high commissioner for human rights. Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday voted to launch a probe into alleged "abuses of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law" by Russian troops in the Kyiv region.

Driving the news: UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet earlier Thursday said over 1,000 bodies of civilians have been recovered in areas around Kyiv that were previously occupied by Russian troops.

  • Bachelet said that the deaths had been caused by Russia's use of explosive weapons.

State of play: At a special session of the council, 33 countries voted in favor of increasing scrutiny on the "deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression."

  • Only two countries, China and Eritrea, voted in opposition.

Details: The resolution the council voted for includes "[r]eaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, and reiterating the urgent need for the Russian Federation to immediately cease its aggression against Ukraine."

Between the lines: Ukraine's prosecutor general on Wednesday announced the first war crimes trial for the conflict would concern a Russian soldier accused of killing a civilian.

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