Amnesty further backtracks on Ukraine human rights report
Independent experts will review the bombshell Amnesty International report accusing the Ukrainian armed forces of violating humanitarian law, following a backlash from Kiev, in an effort to understand “what went wrong” with the preparation of the document.
In a statement released by its German section on Friday, the human rights watchdog said that the study of the document was “initiated at the international level,” and will examine the process by which the material was prepared and how the report was analyzed from the legal and political standpoints.
“We want to understand what exactly went wrong and why, in order to learn a lesson and improve our work in the field of human rights,” the organization said.
Amnesty International noted that “its findings were not conveyed with the delicacy and accuracy” that are expected from the organization. It also stated that its International Secretariat did not react to criticism from the international community in the correct manner.
The report, the watchdog said, also “did not pay due attention to Russian aggression in violation of international law,” adding that Amnesty condemns Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.
On August 4, Amnesty released a report that accused Kiev of “a clear violation of international humanitarian law,” saying it was putting civilian lives at risk by placing its military assets close to civilian infrastructure.
In 22 of the 29 schools visited by Amnesty between April and July, the human rights group said it found evidence of current or prior military activity. In five locations, they witnessed Ukrainian troops using hospitals as bases. The group also said it was “not aware” whether Ukraine tried to evacuate civilians from the areas in question.
Nonetheless, the watchdog noted that no Ukrainian troops were present in some areas where it found that Russian forces had allegedly delivered strikes on residential areas, concluding that Ukraine’s unlawful military use of civilian sites does not “in any way justify indiscriminate Russian attacks.”
Following backlash from Kiev, with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky slamming Amnesty for siding with “terrorists,” the organization issued an apology for its report, saying it “deeply regrets the distress and anger that our press release on the Ukrainian military’s fighting tactics has caused,” while stating that “we fully stand by our findings.”