An independent expert commission, at the request of Amnesty International, analysed the scandalous report on the Ukrainian military and said that its conclusions were “insufficiently substantiated”. The organisation decided not to publish the findings of the experts, but journalists learned the details.
According to the newspaper, Amnesty International accused Ukrainian troops in August last year of “endangering civilians” by deploying soldiers and launching strikes from populated areas.
According to the report of the independent experts is 18 pages long. Analysts emphasise the complexity of applying international law to the war in Ukraine. Among the independent experts were representatives from Oxford, Copenhagen, and Geneva universities, as well as Brigham Young University and the University of Reading.
The experts concluded that Amnesty International analysts had not sufficiently substantiated their report accusing Ukraine. The experts note that the text of the report was “written in an ambiguous, imprecise and in some aspects legally questionable manner”.
“This is particularly true of the opening paragraphs, which could be read as implying – although this was not Amnesty International’s intention – that, at a systemic or general level, Ukrainian forces were primarily or equally responsible for the civilian deaths that occurred as a result of attacks by Russia,” the experts said.
According to the publication, the initial version of the experts’ conclusion was harsher, but Amnesty International lobbied the commission to soften the tone. The publication notes that the organisation still managed to do so, as the experts wrote “insufficiently substantiated” instead of “unfounded”.
The independent report was ready in early February. The experts asked to be warned if Amnesty International decided to publish only some parts of it. However, the organisation decided not to publish the report at all, but to keep it for “internal use”.
In addition, experts note that Amnesty International “did not interact sufficiently” with the Ukrainian authorities to establish the circumstances of the deployment of troops near civilians. Because of this, according to experts, Amnesty International should have used more cautious language.
Following the scandalous report, the director of Amnesty International’s Ukrainian office, Oksana Pokalchuk, announced that she was resigning. The report also prompted the resignation of Per Wästberg, co-founder of Amnesty International’s Swedish branch.