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The UN Security Council Emergency Session on ‘Bucha’—Lynch Mob or Law

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EIRNS—Simply put, the 3.5-hour emergency meeting of the UN Security Council today divided into two groups—those who thought it the responsibility of the Security Council to investigate the allegations of war crimes in Ukraine, including those in Bucha, Mariupol, and the Donbas, and those who close down any such investigation. The latter, led by Britain’s Ambassador Barbara Woodward, serving this month’s president of the Security Council in her capacity as U.K. Permanent Representative, loudly proclaimed that they already know the Russians are guilty, they are the real Nazis, and they must be thrown out of any civilized body. By shutting down the UN Security Council’s proper role, the side arrangement made the previous day by the European Union and Kyiv to handle any “investigation” would be able to manufacture the narrative.

Hence, the bizarre situation arises where Woodward, as acting president of the Security Council—besides calling for an investigation whose the result has already been pronounced—calls for one that bypasses the UN. Rather, it is to be done by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General along with “other national prosecutors.” That was her expression for the EU arrangement made yesterday, while she prevented the Security Council from holding its “emergency” session.

China’s position was the most clearly stated. The Security Council had the job of deescalating tension and working for an early end to the fighting. Russia and Ukraine should stick to negotiations, and the international community should create space for, not roadblocks against, negotiations. They should certainly not add more fuel to the fire. Both parties need to minimize civilian casualties. Humanitarian issues should not be politicized. Neutrality and impartiality are key.

The Bucha reports are certainly disturbing and serious enough to require verification, because the Security Council must base matters on facts before conclusions are drawn. Unfounded accusations and the rush to sanctions create more spillover problems. Sanctions are instrumentalizing and weaponizing the world economy, and especially harm the developing countries. It is more than 30 years since the end of the Cold War, so maybe it is time for some profound reflection. The small and medium-size countries of the world should not be forced to take sides; and the security of one cannot be achieved at the expense of others. Rather, the accumulated differences over the years must be addressed in order for an effective security arrangement. The constructive and responsible role is to promote the peace talks.

It is worth noting that six other countries stood up in their own way, all choosing not to join a lynch mob. Brazil called for a thorough investigation of all reports, without pre-judging either side. They had a responsibility to address the situation in an effective manner, but that is exactly what the Security Council is not doing. That is not the discussion being had. There must be no politicization of humanitarian efforts, no one-sided accusations.

Gabon said that there must be a “UN-led,” free and independent inquiry for Bucha, as “mud-slinging” will not achieve peace. We must remember our mission, which is to work for peace. The Istanbul diplomacy begun on March 29 must achieve a ceasefire soon.

Kenya posed that a continued abuse of the UN Charter over the past years by the major powers has led to the situation they are now in. The UN is losing prestige and needs to reform. Certain urgent steps are needed, beginning with a UN investigation, neutral and prompt, in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine. Both parties must make clear to their military personnel that they will be held responsible. And the UN needs to restore its credibility by also paying attention to the crises in Afghanistan, Haiti, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, etc.

India made a carefully worded statement for an independent investigation of the Bucha allegations, based upon international law. Neutrality, impartiality, and independence must prevail.

Ghana urged for an independent and impartial investigation into the reports of gross violations in Bucha, but also Mariupol, Kharkiv, and elsewhere. All violators must be held responsible. Also, since there was progress at the March 29 session with Russia and Ukraine, the Security Council should make sure to support confidence-building measures in that process. It is the only way to have unified actions.

Finally, the United Arab Emirates, which had held the UNSC chair in March before the U.K. took over, emphasized that the Security Council must establish what actually has happened, and not get caught up in a war of narratives. They must allow the existing institutions to examine the facts on the ground. False narratives and disinformation are the danger, especially when digital information can so easily amplify hate. Technology increases the speed with which such harmful narratives affect the situation on the ground, and that is a real danger.