The United States has credible information that a Russian military unit executed Ukrainians who were attempting to surrender near Donetsk, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack said at the United Nations Wednesday.
“We now have credible information that a Russian military unit operating in the vicinity of Donetsk executed Ukrainians who were attempting to surrender, rather than take them into custody,” Van Schaak said. “If true, this would be a violation of a core principle of the laws of war: the prohibition against the summary execution of civilians and combatants who are hors de combat by virtue of surrender, injury, or other forms of incapacitation.”
Van Schaak also said the US has “credible reports of individuals killed execution-style with their hands bound; bodies showing signs of torture; horrific accounts of sexual violence against women and girls.”
“These images and reports suggest that atrocities are not the result of rogue units or individuals; they, rather, reveal a deeply disturbing pattern of systematic abuse across all areas where Russia’s forces are engaged,” Van Schaak added.
“Let us be clear: those who unleashed, perpetrated, and ordered these crimes must be held to account and the evidence of this criminality is mounting daily,” Van Schaak said. “Our simple message to Russia’s military and political leadership, and file is this: the world is watching, and you will be held accountable.”
The United States welcomes the ICC investigation into atrocities committed in Ukraine, Van Shaak said, referencing the common goal of stakeholders to achieve justice.
“The United States is supporting a range of international investigations into atrocities in Ukraine. This includes those conducted by the International Criminal Court, the UN and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe," she said.