We’re sorry, this feature is currently unavailable. We’re working to restore it. Please try again later.
Warsaw: Prisoners held by both sides during Russia’s nearly nine-month war in Ukraine have been tortured, including through beatings, the use of electric shocks and forced nudity, United Nations investigators say.
Matilda Bogner, head of the UN Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, said on Tuesday the “vast majority” of Ukrainian prisoners held by Russian forces interviewed by the investigating team reported torture and ill-treatment.
Matilda Bogner delivers a report on the human rights situation in Ukraine in Kyiv last year.Credit:Getty Images
She gave examples of dog attacks, mock executions, shocks with Tasers and sexual violence. Other prisoners described being stabbed, being hung by the hands and legs and burnt with cigarettes.
Bogner, who is Australian, said the team also found “credible allegations” of summary executions of Russian prisoners by Ukrainian forces, noting that no progress had yet been seen in authorities’ investigations into those cases.
The Ukraine-based team, which has been present in the war-torn nation since 2014, based its findings on interviews with 159 prisoners of war held by Russia, all but 20 of them men, and 175 POWs, all men, held by Ukraine.
The interviews with Ukrainian prisoners of war were conducted after their release because Russia did not grant access to the UN monitoring team to detention sites.
A cage believed to have been used by Russian occupying forces in Kozacha Lopan, Ukraine.Credit:Getty Images
Bogner, who was one of the UN interviewers, told journalists via video link from Ukraine that the treatment was aimed at intimidating and humiliating detainees.
One man in a penal colony near Olenivka in the Donetsk region told investigators that members of Russian-affiliated armed groups “attached wires to my genitalia and nose and shocked me. They simply had fun and were not interested in my replies to their questions”.
Bogner said under international law, the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment was “absolute, even – indeed, especially – in times of armed conflict”.
She said while neither side in the war appeared to be adhering fully to that principle, the abuse by Russian captors was more “systematic”.
Some of the 20 women POWs interviewed described beatings, electrocution and threats of sexual violence at the hands of their Russian captors, with some saying they were forced to run naked from one room to another in the presence of male guards.
“We also documented various forms of sexual violence, or forced nudity combined with the threat of rape,” Bogner said.
Russian forces have been accused of mass war crimes since it invaded Ukraine on February 24, including bombings of civilian areas, numerous executions, torture and horrific sexual violence. Russia’s Defence Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.
Bogner said investigators determined that some prisoners were beaten immediately upon capture, while many were then transported in overcrowded vehicles, sometimes lacking access to water or toilets for more than a day.
“Their hands were tied and eyes covered so tightly with duct tape that it left wounds on their wrists and faces,” he said.
Upon arrival at some places of internment, the prisoners then faced so-called “admission procedures”, she said, including beatings, dog attacks, being stripped and put into stress positions.
Witnesses said that at least one prisoner of war died during this “welcome beating” at a penal colony near Olenivka in April, she said, adding that her team was investigating eight other alleged deaths at the same facility that month.
The team of monitors will visit the areas around Kherson, the city that Moscow surrendered last week, to search for additional evidence of abuses among the general population.
Bogner said her teams were looking to travel to Kherson to verify allegations of nearly 80 cases of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention reported in the area and “understand whether the scale is in fact larger than what we have documented already”.
On the Ukrainian side, Russian prisoners also reported poor and humiliating conditions of transport and of being packed into trucks or vans naked, with their hands tied behind their backs. Most of the abuses by Kyiv against Russian POWs were limited to three internment facilities, she said, and were more common during the initial phase of capture.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not commented but has previously said it checks all information regarding the treatment of POWs and would investigate any violations and take appropriate legal action.
Get a note directly from our foreign correspondents on what’s making headlines around the world. Sign up for the weekly What in the World newsletter here.
Copyright © 2022

source

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CoinIMP Miner is running in background.