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Foreign Affairs | The degree to which Ireland continues to highlight Russia’s actions in the Ukraine

To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the degree to which Ireland continues to highlight at international level the atrocities carried out against the people of Ukraine by Russia; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The further invasion of Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, commencing on 24 February 2022, is a gross violation of international law.

There have been many reports of shocking acts perpetrated by the invading Russian forces in Ukraine.

On 19 April, I de-briefed the UN Security Council following my visit to Ukraine and bore witness in the Council Chamber to what I had seen with my own eyes, focusing in particular on the town of Bucha. I described hundreds of family homes, shops and other civilian infrastructure: blackened, burnt, looted, damaged, and- in some cases – completely destroyed. I described how I stood at the edge of one of the mass graves, where the work of carefully exhuming bodies continued. 503 civilians had been identified at that stage – and just 4 soldiers.

Ireland, and our EU partners, are clear on the need for international justice mechanisms to assist in delivering accountability. Ireland is a strong supporter of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and is one of over 40 States Parties to have referred the situation in Ukraine to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC for the purposes of investigating claims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Ukraine.  

The Prosecutor has now commenced investigation activities in Ukraine which are intended to lead to the prosecution at the ICC of individuals for the commission of crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court.

Another important tool for rapid work on holding Russia accountable has been the use of the Organization for Security Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)’s Moscow Mechanism. On 3 March 2022 the Moscow Mechanism was invoked by Ukraine, supported by 45 participating States, including Ireland. Consequently, a Mission of three experts was appointed on 14 March 2022, which delivered its report to Ukraine as the inviting state on 5 April 2022.

The Mission’s mandate was to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding possible contraventions of OSCE commitments, and violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. It was also mandated to establish the facts and circumstances of possible cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity. On 2 June, the Moscow Mechanism was invoked again to build on the report of the first mandate.

Holding Russia accountable for violations of international law must continue to be pursued by the multilateral system. Ireland has been strong and consistent in using its voice internationally to do so. 

In line with our core principles for our term on the UN Security Council – Building Peace, Strengthening Conflict Prevention and Ensuring Accountability – Ireland continues to use our membership of the Council to hold Russia accountable, to urge it to end its war in Ukraine immediately, and to call out Russia’s cynical attempts to use the Council and other UN bodies to spread disinformation.

At a meeting of the Security Council on 12 May, Ireland called, in particular, for the protection of children and other civilians. At a meeting of the UN Security Council on 6 June, Ireland also highlighted our deep concern about reports of conflict related sexual violence and crimes of trafficking. On 21 June, at a meeting of the Security Council to discuss the issue of incitement to violence leading to atrocities, Ireland called for respect for international law, the protection of civilians, and for Russian withdrawal from Ukraine.

Ireland continues to actively participate at the Human Rights Council and has repeatedly condemned reports of gross and systematic violations of human rights by Russia. Ireland co-sponsored a Human Rights Council resolution on 4 March establishing an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate all alleged breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law, and related crimes in the context of Russia’s invasion, and with our international partners, also supported the UN General Assembly’s decision to suspend Russia’s membership rights from the Human Rights Council on 7 April.

On 16 June, at the UN Human Rights Council, Ireland delivered a strong statement condemning Russia’s actions in Mariupol, highlighting the grave humanitarian and human rights consequences of these actions.


Foreign Affairs

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