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  • Human Rights Research Center

New Evidence of Russia's Torture of Ukrainian POWs Uncovered

March 15, 2024

Erik Mose, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, speaks about the Commissioners comprehensive report to Human Rights Council, during a press conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, March 15, 2024. U.N.-backed human rights experts said Friday they have gathered new evidence of “horrific” torture of Ukrainian prisoners of war by their Russian jailers, saying such practices could amount to war crimes. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

Cited article by ABC News

HRRC calls for urgent international action to address the ongoing human rights abuses and war crimes taking place at the hands of Russian authorities in order to ensure accountability for those responsible for the egregious treatment of Ukrainian POWs.

News Brief

U.N.-backed human rights experts have disclosed new evidence of widespread and systematic torture inflicted upon Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) by Russian authorities, potentially constituting war crimes. The Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine reiterated its findings, citing "horrific treatment" of POWs in various Russian sites. Reports from as early as last July highlighted the plight of thousands of Ukrainian civilians subjected to systematic torture and forced labor in Russian prisons, with plans for further detention facilities in occupied Ukraine. Commission chair Erik Mose emphasized the severity of the torture, ranging from physical abuse to deprivation of basic necessities, describing the situation as "horrific."

The commission also condemned Russian military operations for showing little regard for civilian safety, with incidents of rape and sexual violence against women classified as torture. Moreover, the relocation of children from Ukraine to Russian-occupied Crimea raised concerns of unlawful transfer, potentially constituting a war crime. While acknowledging isolated human rights violations by Ukrainian authorities, the focus remained on the widespread and systematic nature of torture by Russian forces. Despite extensive efforts by the commission, including numerous visits to Ukraine and interviews with over 1,400 individuals, Russian authorities exhibited a lack of cooperation, declining meetings and access requests. This latest report builds upon previous findings, indicating the possibility of crimes against humanity committed by Russian forces through policies such as military strikes targeting critical infrastructure.


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