More than 9,000 killed in Ukraine since 2014, U.N. says; calls for world justice system to investigate

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 14 (UPI) — A United Nations report, released Thursday, found 9,404 people have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict in 2014, including up to 2,000 civilians.

The 51-page report by the U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, refers to “gross violations of human rights” in Ukraine and criticizes authorities for failing to bring killers to justice.

It calls for the mobilization of the national and international justice system to investigate the killings and prosecute the killers.

The report concentrates on civilian casualties during clashes in the eastern part of the country. In many cases, the OHCHR found, the deaths occurred in areas where there was no fighting between Ukrainian government troops and pro-separatist forces. Many people died while in custody for supporting either side of the conflict.

The pro-government side hastily added vigilante and volunteer battalions to help fight the separatists, according to the report, resulting in a lack of discipline. Known criminals also joined the fight on both sides, resulting in “an unbridled rule of the gun with armed men readily resorting to violence towards civilians, especially to those who ‘disobeyed’ their orders.”

Dozens of people died in areas controlled by the separatists, the report says, citing allegations of deaths of people in government custody, many the result of torture or inadequate medical treatment.

At least 121 cases of “intentional homicide” of Ukrainian soldiers are included in the report, situations in which soldiers were killed for reporting the misconduct of their fellow troops. It also refers to investigations of deaths within the self-styled “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic,” areas of Ukraine under control of the separatists.

“These entities do not have any legal status under Ukrainian law. Their ‘investigations’ appear to be selective,” the report states.

“Accountability will be key to the establishment of sustainable peace in Ukraine, including in the eastern part of the country,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. “This is the only way forward, as has been fully and tragically demonstrated by the many countries which have not dealt properly with serious international crimes and human rights abuses, and as a result have sooner or later toppled back into violence.”

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