Referendums “cannot be considered legal under international law”

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Peacebuilding said on Tuesday that Russia’s referendums on the annexation of Ukrainian territories “cannot be called a genuine expression of popular will”.

At a Security Council meeting to address growing tensions resulting from Moscow’s decision to partially mobilize army reserves to support the war effort and hold referendums for the annexation of the occupied Ukrainian territories, Rosemary DiCarlo said these referendums “cannot be considered legal under international law”.

“At the time of our meeting, so-called ‘referendums’ have just been conducted by authorities in the Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporyjia, and Kherson regions. The Ukrainians were asked whether they approved of the joining of their regions to the Russian Federation. The vote took place in the centers De facto officials, accompanied by soldiers, also went door-to-door with ballot boxes,” DiCarlo described.

“These exercises, which began on September 23, were carried out during the active armed conflict, in areas under Russian control and outside Ukraine’s legal and constitutional framework. They cannot be called a genuine expression of popular will,” he said.

According to the Under-Secretary-General, “unilateral actions intended to give an appearance of legitimacy to the attempted forcible acquisition by one State of the territory of another State, while purporting to represent the will of the people, cannot be considered lawful under international law. “.

Rosemary DiCarlo took the opportunity to reiterate the United Nations “remains fully committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty, unity, independence, and territorial integrity” within “its internationally recognized borders” in accordance with relevant UN resolutions.

Referring to the escalation of the Russian offensive in recent weeks, the diplomat warned of the growing nuclear narrative.

“We also hear alarming rhetoric about the use of nuclear weapons. This is unacceptable. Such rhetoric is inconsistent with the Joint Declaration by the Leaders of the Five Nuclear Weapon States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races, made on 3 January 2022 “, he stressed.

Furthermore, Rosemary DiCarlo drew the attention of international delegations present to “extremely disturbing reports” following investigations carried out in the areas of Kyiv, Chernigiv, Kharkiv, and Sumy.

The investigations were carried out by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, mandated by the Human Rights Council, and concluded that war crimes were committed on Ukrainian soil.

“Among other findings, the Commission was impressed by a large number of executions and other violations committed by Russian forces. In the four areas covered, the Commission prosecuted two incidents of ill-treatment of soldiers from the Russian Federation by Ukrainian forces,” he said.

“Rarely, if ever, has the international community collected as much evidence of human rights violations, war crimes, and other atrocities as those that were taking place. It is tragic that we have not been able to stop them. But it would be shameful if we could not guarantee justice for the victims and their loved ones. Those responsible for the outrages committed in Ukraine, wherever they are, must be held accountable,” DiCarlo said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also participated in today’s meeting, via videoconference, who said that an eventual annexation of Ukraine’s territories by Russia, through referendums, will mean that “there is nothing to negotiate” with his counterpart. Russian, Vladimir Putin.

Source: with agencies

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