Early investigation will bring benefit: UN Special Rapporteur on Russian war crimes

, 12:53, 10.09.2023
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Ukraine is investigating and initiating proceedings regarding war crimes of the Russian Federation without waiting for the end of the war, which may bring results.

Early investigation will bring benefit: UN Special Rapporteur on Russian war crimes

UN Special Rapporteur on Russian war crimes

UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment, Alice Jill Edwards, made a striking statement during a press conference following her mission to Ukraine from September 1-9. Her findings shed light on the disturbing human rights violations taking place in the region.

The Scale of Torture Accusations

Edwards emphasized that her visit uncovered a distressing pattern of torture, revealing that Russian prisoners in Ukraine have been subjected to brutal treatment. She pointed to the fact that these actions are not isolated incidents but rather a state policy aimed at instilling fear among the populace.

“I saw that there was a certain scale of accusations of torture. There are crimes committed against citizens by the Russian government and military. This is a state policy aimed at spreading fear. I heard from many victims that they were tortured with electricity – genitals. They were beating. They simulated drowning, execution," said the UN special rapporteur.

Among the harrowing accounts Edwards shared were torture methods that included the use of electricity on genitals, severe beatings, and simulations of drowning and execution. These revelations underscore the gravity of the situation and the urgent need for action.

The UN representative recalled that over 103,000 people were registered in the OGPU. proceedings regarding war crimes committed by the Russian military in Ukraine.

“The main challenge I see is how to deal with so many accusations. I'm impressed that investigations are being conducted. This means that new cases are emerging. Because I know from experience that investigations begin after the conflict ends. “I think there will be benefits to investigating this early.” - she said.

According to Edwards, she communicated with people detained in Mariupol, Kharkov and the Kyiv Oblast: "I have no access to the occupied territories".

She emphasized that it is necessary to work with women who survived rape, but this requires a special approach because they are reluctant to talk about their experiences.

“There was also serious torture of men. We need to work with women now and in the future. During interrogations with women, rape was the standard. It was part of the torture. However, it is necessary to conduct highly specialized interviews. Women are reluctant to share information, especially from remote areas, Edwards said.

The UN Special Rapporteur also commended Ukraine for its humane treatment of Russian prisoners in Zahid-1 camp, noting the provision of barracks, food, medical care, recreation, employment opportunities, and communication with families.

However, she also raised concerns about reports of mistreatment during their transportation by Ukrainian military forces, emphasizing the need for further investigation into such allegations.

Alice Jill Edwards noted that she is very interested in hearing civil society representatives’ views on how to proceed when it is impossible to get Russia to respond to UN calls to stop the practice of torture and abuse of captured Ukrainians. In its turn, the MIHR believes that the most important thing now is to gain access to the places where the Russian Federation is holding Ukrainians. And this should be one of the priorities UN institutions should work on.

#Russian Agression#Human rights#UN

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