Alert: Afghanistan one year on: open season on the defence of human rights

Crimes in Ukraine must not go unpunished

Special session of the Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression

Statement delivered by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

12 May 2022

Thank you.

The OMCT and its Ukrainian partners keep receiving chilling reports of serious human rights and international humanitarian law violations throughout Ukraine, including arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings.

Our partners have recorded hundreds of cases of enforced disappearances, mostly in the regions of Kyiv, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. The OMCT was able to verify that, in some of these cases, victims were subjected to different forms of torture and ill-treatment including severe beatings, electric shocks, and mock executions. The forced displacement of prisoners to Belarus and Russia has also been reported.

Extrajudicial killings of civilians by Russian troops are particularly disturbing. Witnesses told the OMCT that before withdrawing from Novy Bykov village in Chernihiv, the Russian military held 24 civilians they suspected of sympathizing with the Ukrainian army in the basement of the House of Culture of Novy Bykov.

According to them, on March 30, a Russian soldier entered the basement, said that his commander had ordered him to shoot four people and offered the detainees to choose who should be shot.

Two men volunteered. To choose the other two, the Russian soldier forced the detainees to draw lots. The bodies of the four men were later found near the village cemetery. The remaining 20 prisoners were released after the withdrawal of the Russian army.

We urge all parties to the conflict to respect human rights and international law and we call on the international community to urgently take all necessary steps to ensure accountability.

I thank you.

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