FILE PHOTO: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet attends an event at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, November 3, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

According to the United Nations, both Ukrainian and Russian troops have violated human rights and international humanitarian law. UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet accused both warring parties in Geneva on Tuesday of placing military positions near civilian buildings and using “human shields”.

POWs continue to be tortured and mistreated without those responsible being held accountable. Cases of rape and other sexualised violence have also been documented in Russian and Ukrainian controlled areas. “On behalf of every victim of this senseless war: the killings, the torture, the arbitrary arrests must stop,” demanded Bachelet.

There are “significant fears that attacks by Russian forces are not compatible with international humanitarian law,” Bachelet said. To a “much lesser extent” this also applies to Ukrainian troops in the east of the country.

Referring to the Russian army, she spoke of “growing evidence” of unlawful killings and even mass executions. Her office has over 300 indications that soldiers have killed other people outside of combat operations.

At the same time, Bachelet expressed concern that the arrests of more than 1,000 suspected collaborators by the Ukrainian secret service SBU and the Ukrainian police were “not in accordance with international human rights obligations”. In twelve cases, people in Ukrainian judicial custody disappeared.

As of July 3, the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva recorded more than 10,000 civilians killed or injured, mostly due to the use of explosive weapons in residential areas. According to the information, 335 of the 4,889 dead were children. The actual numbers are much higher, emphasized Bachelet. So far, more than 400 destroyed health and educational facilities have been registered; here, too, there are probably more in reality.