France hails 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 Forcible Transfer and/or Deportation of Ukrainian Children to the Russian Federation. Independent experts Professor Veronika Bílková, Dr. Cecilie Hellestveit and Dr. Elīna Šteinert prepared this report in line with the OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism invoked on March 30 by 45 countries, including France.
France was deeply concerned by the conclusions of this report, which found that “a large number of Ukrainian children have been, since 24 February 2022 and even prior to this date, displaced from the territory of Ukraine to the temporarily occupied territories and to the territory of the Russian Federation.” This practice constitutes a war crime and “may amount to a crime against humanity of ‘deportation or forcible transfer of population.’” The report’s conclusions add to the serious human rights violations, including the deportation of children, documented by the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine.
We call on Russia to comply with its international obligations and commitments, to implement the recommendations of this report without delay, and to immediately end its practice of forcibly transferring or deporting Ukrainian children to the temporarily occupied territories and Russia. Russia must take all necessary measures to facilitate the return of forcibly transferred or deported children to their families or legal guardians in Ukraine.
France is staunchly committed – along with Ukraine, its partners, and national and international courts, including the International Criminal Court, which issued two arrest warrants in connection with the deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children – to combating impunity for the perpetrators of these actions. The OSCE report’s conclusions will provide input for ongoing investigations with the goal of formally establishing responsibility in regard to allegations of the forcible transfer and/or deportation of Ukrainian children.
France reiterates its strong condemnation of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.