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Independent reviewers find faults in Amnesty International's report about the UAF violating the laws of war – NUT

28.04.2023, 18:49
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Amnesty International’s board has sat on an independent review it had commissioned in February 2023 of a report accusing Ukrainian forces of violating the laws and customs of war and endangering civilians.

The report on the review's findings has been shared to The New York Times, writes Radio Liberty.

The review was done by a panel of five international humanitarian law experts and finds faults in the report published by Amnesty International in August 2022.

In some respects, the report by the review panel absolved Amnesty International, concluding that it was proper to evaluate whether a defender, not just an aggressor, was obeying the laws of war. Yet, the experts concluded that Amnesty International's release was “written in language that was ambiguous, imprecise and in some respects legally questionable” and its key conclusions that Ukraine violated international law were “not sufficiently substantiated” by the available evidence.

The panel delivered its final revision in early February, but Amnesty International’s board decided to merely use it as one of several sources for a lessons-learned document to circulate internally. 

In August 2022, Amnesty International faced backlash from the Ukrainian officials and international experts alike after a release accusing Ukrainian forces of illegally putting “civilians in harm’s way” by housing soldiers nearby and launching attacks from populated areas.

The organization described Ukrainian military personnel living in and firing from residential buildings and schools in the Donbas, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv oblasts. The report alleged that in Odesa, the Ukrainian army placed armored vehicles in densely populated residential areas, and used a Bakhmut university building as a military base, causing damage to the residential buildings nearby.

“Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Russian propaganda immediately used this report to make accusations against Kyiv.

Critics independent of Amnesty International have pointed out that the release ignored the realities of war and, from the moral standpoint, draws an equals sign between the aggressor and the victim.

As IMI reported, on August 4, human rights organization Amnesty International published a report stating that the Ukrainian military was endangering the civilian population by creating bases and placing weapons in residential areas, namely in schools and hospitals, while resisting the russian invasion.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Amnesty's report was trying to "grant amnesty to the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim."

Later, Amnesty International apologized for the "distress and anger" caused by their statement, but stood by their words.

In September, Amnesty International issued envelopes depicting two people hugging. One person is painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, the other – in the Russian colours.

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