Ireland tells UN there must be accountability for victims of war in Ukraine

Conflict-related sexual violence can constitute a war crime, says Geraldine Byrne Nason

Irish ambassador to the UN Geraldine Byrne Nason said attempts to deny Russian culpability were ‘frankly appalling’.

Russian authorities are responsible for atrocities committed while in effective control of parts of Ukraine, Ireland has told the United Nations Security Council.

Irish ambassador to the UN Geraldine Byrne Nason said there must be accountability and justice for the victims and for the survivors of this war.

“Where crimes have been committed, they must be fully investigated and evidence preserved so that these crimes can be prosecuted by domestic and international courts, including the International Criminal Court”, she said.

She said Ireland would continue to support efforts to ensure robust and independent investigation of all violations of international law.


Ms Byrne Nason said attempts at the UN Security Council on Tuesday to deny Russian culpability were “frankly appalling in their cynicism, and I see them as an insult to the memory of those slaughtered civilians”.

"We roundly condemn the atrocities reportedly committed by the Russian armed forces in a number of occupied Ukrainian towns. The images from Bucha, and other towns in the Kyiv region liberated by Ukrainian forces, are horrifying. We, here, cannot suspend our humanity," she said.

“Our thoughts, first and foremost, must be with the families of those killed. Their pain at the loss of their loved ones in such an unspeakable manner is almost unimaginable.”

Ms Byrne Nason continued: “Let’s be clear: the Russian authorities are responsible for these atrocities, committed while they had effective control of the area.”

She said the Russian authorities were subject to the international law of occupation.

“There can never be impunity from such crimes. Never ever. Not in Bucha, not in any other town or village. Ever.”

Ms Byrne Nason said increasing allegations had been heard of sexual violence by Russian soldiers.

She said conflict-related sexual violence can constitute a war crime.

“The perpetrators of such crimes must be accountable. They must be held accountable; they will be held accountable. Sexual violence is another abhorrent crime of this war that cannot go unanswered.”

She said Ireland called on the Russian Federation "to abide by the order of the International Court of Justice and to immediately cease its military action and withdraw from the entire territory of Ukraine".

She said Ireland echoed the call of the secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, for Russia to implement an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

“It is the very least the aggressor can do. It is way past time. As we know, the reverberations from this war are reaching far beyond Ukraine. “

“It is unacceptable that Russia’s war of choice against Ukraine is also having and will continue to have significant spillover effects across the globe: deterioration of food security, surging energy prices, increasing poverty.”

“The most vulnerable and impoverished in developing countries will suffer the most. We utterly reject that. “

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent