The UN chief of law called Moscow on Tuesday to conduct or cooperate with a “thorough, transparent, independent and impartial investigation” into the suspected nerve agent attack on Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Michelle Bachelet stressed the need to investigate the poisoning after German specialists said they had “clear evidence” that the weapons-grade nerve agent Novichok was used in the attack.
“It is up to the Russian authorities to fully investigate who is responsible for this crime, a very serious crime that was committed on Russian soil,” she said in a statement.
The 44-year-old anti-corruption activist and one of President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics fell ill on a domestic flight last month and was treated in a Siberian hospital before being evacuated to Berlin.
The attack was the last in a long line of assassinations against Putin’s critics.
Bachelet stressed on Tuesday that “the number of cases of poisoning or other forms of targeted murder of current or former Russian citizens in Russia itself or on foreign soil over the past two decades is deeply worrying”.
“And the failure to hold perpetrators accountable and to bring justice to victims or their families in many cases is deeply regrettable and difficult to explain or justify,” she said.
Germany said last week that toxicological tests carried out by its armed forces had found “clear evidence” that Navalny had been poisoned with the weaponized nerve agent Novichok, the substance used in the 2018 attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter English city of Salisbury was used.
Navalny officials say the deployment of Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, shows that only the Russian state could be responsible, but the Kremlin firmly denies any involvement.
Russia had also denied any connection to the Skripal case and the death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with highly radioactive polonium-210 in a hotel in the British capital.
While the UN Legal Bureau stated that they were unable to make direct allegations against Moscow in the case, Bachelet noted that nerve agents and radioactive isotopes such as novichok and polonium-210 were sophisticated substances that were very difficult to obtain be.
“This raises a number of questions,” she said. “Why use such substances? Who uses them? How did they get them?”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also pointed out that prior to the alleged poisoning of Navalny, he had been repeatedly harassed, arrested and attacked by authorities or unknown assailants.
“Navalny was clearly someone in need of government protection, even if he was a political thorn in the side of the government,” she said.
“It is not good enough simply to deny that he was poisoned and to deny the need for a thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into this attack,” she said.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)