Anti-aircraft sirens sound in all regions of Ukraine

Torture and ill-treatment: the UN warns about the fate of prisoners of war

Many prisoners of war captured by Russian and Ukrainian forces as part of the conflict in Ukraine are being subjected to torture and ill-treatment, including electric shocks, the UN warned on Tuesday. “The prohibition of torture and ill-treatment is absolute, even – in fact especially – in times of armed conflict,” said the head of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, during a a videoconference from kyiv.

Over the past few months, the mission has interviewed 159 POWs (139 men and 20 women) held by Russia and its affiliated armed groups and 175 POWs (all men) held by Ukraine. The mission was granted unimpeded access to the places of internment of prisoners of war controlled by the Ukrainian government, but the United Nations, despite its requests, has still not been granted confidential access to prisoners of war interned by Russia and its affiliated armed groups.

Attacked by dogs

The United Nations was, however, able to interview Ukrainian prisoners of war who had been released. As for prisoners of war captured by Russian forces, “the vast majority of people we interviewed told us that they had been tortured and ill-treated during their internment” on a daily basis, indicated Matilda Bogner. Upon capture, some of the prisoners were beaten. They are then transported to their place of detention, “often in overcrowded trucks or buses”, without always having access to water or toilets for more than a day. “Their hands were tied and their eyes covered with duct tape so tight that it left wounds on their wrists and faces,” said Matilda Bogner. On their arrival in certain places of internment, prisoners of war are subjected to “admission procedures”, according to testimonies collected by the UN, during which they are beaten for a long time, threatened, attacked by dogs or negligees.

The UN has also received “credible allegations” of summary executions of Russian prisoners of war captured by Ukrainian forces and several cases of torture and ill-treatment. “We have documented cases of torture and ill-treatment, mainly when people were captured, or while they were subjected to initial interrogation or transferred to transit camps and places of internment”, explained Matilda Bogner .

Leave a Comment