In Ukraine, Human Rights Watch documents “apparent war crimes”

Summary executions, rapes, looting, violence and threats against civilians. In a report published on Sunday, April 3, Human Rights Watch (HRW) documents several cases of “apparent war crimes” committed by the Russians in the Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Kyiv areas of Ukraine. “The cases we have documented testify to the unspeakable and deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians, said Hugh Williamson, director of the Europe and Central Asia division of the human rights organization. Rape, murder and other acts of violence against people detained by Russian forces must be investigated as war crimes. »

On March 4, in Boutcha, Russian forces as well “He arrested five men and summarily executed one of them”, according to a testimony collected by the NGO. The soldiers forced the five men to kneel on the side of the road, covered their heads with their T-shirts and shot one in the back of the head, this witness said.

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Other summary executions were carried out on February 27 in the town of Staryi Bykiv, in the Chernihiv region, according to the mother of one of the victims. The Russians rounded up six men and executed them, the woman testified. She was nearby when her son and another man were kidnapped, and she saw the bodies of six victims.

Human Rights Watch collected accounts from ten people in all, “including witnesses, victims and residents of the Russian-occupied territories, in person or by phone.” Many wished to respond on condition of anonymity, for security reasons.

repeated violations

More violence against civilians has been documented in the town of Vorzel, about 50 kilometers northwest of kyiv. On March 6, Russian soldiers threw a smoke grenade into a basement where several people had taken refuge. “When the terrified people tried to flee from the basement, the soldiers opened fire and hit a woman and a 14-year-old boy”said a witness. The boy died instantly. A woman was injured. She died the next day.

The Russians also seem to use another weapon of war: rape. A woman testified that she was raped several times by a Russian soldier at a school in the Kharkiv region where she had taken refuge with her family on March 13. She said that she was beaten and stabbed in the face and neck with a knife. She was able to flee the next day and took refuge in Kharkiv, where she was able to receive treatment. The human rights NGO was able to see her facial injuries in two photographs sent by the victim.

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