Since the invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations has recorded 77 summary executions of civilians arbitrarily detained by Russia in the territories it occupies, which constitute a war crime, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“It is a war crime and a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.”This was confirmed by Matilda Bogner, Head of the Ukraine Office of the High Commissioner, during a press conference.
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There have undoubtedly been more summary executions of civilian detainees by Russia than I have been able to investigate, however “We don’t think there’s much.”She said live from Ukraine via video link.
“Torture and ill-treatment are widespread”
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also recorded 864 cases of arbitrary detention by the Russian armed forces, law enforcement agencies and prison authorities. “Involved in widespread torture and ill-treatment of civilian detainees”.
The report, prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Ukraine and presented on Tuesday in Geneva, covers the period from February 24, 2022 – the start date of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – to May 23, 2023.
In all, the report documents more than 900 cases of arbitrary detention of civilians, including children and the elderly. The vast majority of these cases were committed by the Russian Federation.Explains the text.
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“Obviously the number is much higher. Probably twice thatMatilda Bogner said. The report only looks at individual cases, not collective prisons.
On the Ukrainian side, the High Commission has “Identified 75 cases of arbitrary detention by the Ukrainian security forces, mostly of persons suspected of crimes related to the conflict”Half of them were tortured and ill-treated. A significant proportion of these cases were also cases of enforced disappearance, perpetrated mainly by the Security Service of Ukraine. »
More than half of those arbitrarily detained have been tortured or ill-treated by Ukrainian security forces. This happened while people were being interrogated, usually right after they were arrested.”notes the report.
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OHCHR’s findings are based on 1,136 interviews with victims, witnesses and others, 274 field visits and 70 visits to official places of detention run by the Ukrainian authorities, to which it has been granted access. Completely free but confidential to all official detention sites and prisoners, with one exception..
This exception concerned 87 civilian Russian sailors who were forced to remain on their boat in the Odessa region for several months before being released or exchanged. Matilda Bogner had no explanation for denying access to these prisoners in particular.
The Russian authorities did not allow any access despite the High Commission’s requests.