Statement on inhumane treatment of Ukrainian prisoners in Russian facilities
September 24, 2022
On 23 September, Dr Kateryna Bondar, WFUWO’s main representative to the UN Geneva, participated in the Interactive Dialogue with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine that delivered its first oral update at the UN Human Rights Council. Based on the gathered evidence, the Commission had concluded that war crimes have been committed by the Russian Federation in Ukraine. The Commission’s Chair spoke about indiscriminate attacks, a large number of executions, sexual violence, ill-treatment, torture, forced disappearances of civilians, as well as rape, torture, unlawful confinement and killings of children. The Commission’s investigation continues and will include issues of filtration camps, forced transfer of people, unlawful adoption of children and other types of violations. The Commission is due to submit a complete report in March 2023 and is still accepting the submissions from individuals, groups and organisations until 30 September 2022.
At the Interactive Dialogue with the Commission, Dr Kateryna Bondar delivered the statement on behalf of WFUWO, highlighting torture, intimidation, and inhumane treatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war in Russian facilities, and calling for recommendations for establishing a special international tribunal to hold Russian leaders accountable for the crime of aggression and war crimes and a special compensation mechanism to compensate victims of this aggression:
The recently discovered mass graves and torture chambers in the Kharkiv region, and related witness accounts, are additional proof of widespread torture of civilians, members of local defense units and military, and deliberate killings of civilians by the Russian army in occupied areas of Ukraine. We call on the Commission to investigate and identify the perpetrators of these crimes.
We await an objective legal assessment of the credible reports about the forcible deportation and abduction of thousands of Ukrainian children from occupied territories to the far regions of the Russian Federation.
We request prompt investigation of the killing of 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war in the Olenivka facility and of all violations of international humanitarian law by Russian forces such as arbitrary detention, deportation and imprisonment of civilians, torture, intimidation and inhumane treatment of Ukrainian prisoners in Russian facilities. In those facilities, there are more than 100 women taken captive in Mariupol, among them many medics. They are imprisoned in insanitary conditions and without adequate food, access to international organizations, or communication with their families.
How will this end, this impunity enabling Russia’s invasion? How can further Russian crimes against humanity in Ukraine and other regions of the world be prevented? Given the limits of existing mechanisms, we call on the Commission to make practical recommendations for establishing a legal mechanism such as a special international tribunal to hold Russian leaders accountable for the crime of aggression and war crimes and a special compensation mechanism to compensate victims of this aggression.