On July 10, the Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ), Legal Action Worldwide, and Truth Hounds announced they had filed a “landmark complaint” to the U.N. Human Rights Committee regarding a Russian missile attack on Vinnytsia in 2022.

Representing the families of 18 Ukrainian victims, the NGOs aim to set a precedent that could apply to thousands more civilians killed during Russia’s full-scale war. The missile attack on Vinnytsia, a city in central Ukraine far from the front line, occurred on July 14, 2022, resulting in 29 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

The complaint asserts that the attack violated the victims’ right to life, as stipulated by the U.N. Human Rights Committee’s General Comment 36. This conclusion is based on field and open-source investigations conducted by CFJ and its partners, alongside comprehensive legal analysis.

General Comment 36 states that “the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) recognizes and protects the right to life of all human beings,” obligating all “States parties to respect the right to life.” Both Russia and Ukraine are signatories of the ICCPR.

“This innovative case was developed over two years of investigation and legal analysis,” said Anya Neistat, legal director of CFJ’s The Docket initiative, in a joint press release. “If our arguments are accepted by the Human Rights Committee, the complaint will set a worldwide precedent, advance accountability for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and offer a measure of justice to the families of all those killed in aggressive war.”

The complaint calls on the U.N. body to deliver justice to the families of the Vinnytsia attack victims by declaring Russia’s actions unlawful and in violation of their right to life, and by ordering reparations to be paid to the families.

“A favorable decision from the Committee will mean that the victims of the attack are no longer just ‘collateral damage’ of military action,” said Roman Avramenko, executive director of Truth Hounds. “It will recognize that their rights have been violated and that they are entitled to redress. The U.N. Human Rights Committee should not miss this opportunity to take action based on its own principles.”

“Nothing will bring our loved ones back,” said 40-year-old Yaroslav, whose wife was killed and seven-year-old son severely injured by the strike. “But we are determined to do everything we can to bring justice to them, and countless others, who are still being killed in Ukraine every day.”

The attack on Vinnytsia is just one of many deadly strikes Russia has carried out against Ukrainian cities. Earlier this week, a massive missile strike killed dozens across the country, including at least 33 residents of Kyiv.