Invocation of the OSCE Moscow Mechanism to Investigate Mounting Reports of Human Rights Abuses and International Humanitarian Law Violations by Russia

With Ukraine’s assent, the United States and 44 other countries have invoked the OSCE Moscow Mechanism a second time since the start of Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine to investigate reports of human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by Russian forces in Ukraine. This action will establish an expert mission to build upon the first Moscow Mechanism report, released on April 13. That report focused on grave concerns regarding the humanitarian and human rights situation in Ukraine caused by Russia’s brutal and unprovoked war, with the support of Belarus. That report found “clear patterns of international humanitarian law violations by Russian forces” and evidence of direct targeting of civilians, attacks on medical facilities, rape, executions, looting, and forced deportation of civilians to Russia.

The second expert mission will continue and update the first mission’s impartial work to establish facts and circumstances surrounding possible contraventions of OSCE commitments and abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Ukraine. The expert mission will prepare a new report that will be shared with all OSCE participating States and relevant accountability mechanisms, including national, regional, and international courts and tribunals, as appropriate. The United States and our partners will continue our efforts to hold Russia’s forces accountable for all human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, they commit in Ukraine.