Moscow Mechanism report on Russia’s arbitrary detention of civilians in Ukraine (April 25, 2024)

France welcomes the publication of the “Report on Violations and Abuses of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, related to the Arbitrary Deprivation of Liberty of Ukrainian Civilians by the Russian Federation,” prepared by the Moscow Mechanism’s Mission of Experts for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The Moscow Mechanism was invoked on February 29, 2024, by 45 countries, including France.

France was deeply concerned to learn of the report’s conclusions, which confirm that the “arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Ukrainian citizens [by the Russian Federation] started … in spring 2014,” and that in the “overwhelming majority” of cases, there are “no legal grounds” for the detention of civilians.

The Mission also concluded that Ukrainian civilians detained by Russia have been consistently denied all of the guarantees stemming from international humanitarian law and human rights law, emphasizing that “a vast majority of detained civilians are never informed about the grounds for their detention” and “have no possibility to challenge the lawfulness of their detention.” The report establishes that these arbitrary deprivations of liberty have been conducive to other serious violations such as “torture,” “sexual violence,” “mistreatment,” “incommunicado detention” and “enforced disappearances.” The practice of arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Ukrainian civilians “has occurred on a massive scale and has revealed signs of a systematic, consistent, deliberate pattern of conduct targeting specifically Ukrainian civilians.” We reiterate that there can be no impunity for the perpetrators of any act that may constitute a war crime or a crime against humanity.

We call on Russia to abide by its international obligations and commitments and to implement the recommendations of the report without delay by immediately ending the practice of arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Ukrainian civilians and unconditionally releasing all the detained individuals.

Russia must take all necessary measures to guarantee the return of these civilians to their homes, provide them with the procedural guarantees to which they are entitled under international law, and ensure that these detained Ukrainian civilians are treated with dignity. The ICRC must be given immediate access to all the facilities where Ukrainian civilians are being detained.

France reiterates its strong condemnation of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

Originally published at

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