Human rights group documenting alleged war crimes in 8 cities around Ukrainian capital
Amnesty International announced Friday that it has evidence of alleged war crimes committed earlier this year by Russian forces in the Kyiv region during the invasion of Ukraine.
Investigators from the human rights group have been documenting alleged war crimes in eight cities around the Ukrainian capital since the end of February.
The names of some places may already be familiar, including Bucha and Borodyanka, where Ukrainian authorities and the international media shocked the world with the images of bound and slaughtered civilians and mass graves.
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What Amnesty has done is interview survivors and collected evidence, said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International's secretary general.
In other words, we know that the crimes committed against people living around here are not merely anecdotal, she told a news conference in Kyiv following the release of the investigation report.
We know they are part of a pattern that has characterized Russia's conduct of the hostilities from the outset.
Spent ammunition matched with Russian military units
As part of the forensics, the human rights group says it has matched specific spent ammunition with specific elite Russian military units that are accused of carrying out the atrocities.
Amnesty says it has documented unlawful airstrikes on Borodyanka that killed as many as 40 people.
The attacks were disproportionate and indiscriminate, devastated an entire neighbourhood and left thousands of people homeless, the report concluded.
In Bucha and several other towns and villages located northwest of Kyiv, Amnesty International documented 22 cases of unlawful killings by Russian forces, most of which were apparent extrajudicial executions.
WATCH | Building a case for war crimes in Bucha:
It is vital that all those responsible, including up the chain of command, are brought to justice, said Callamard.
Dozens of witnesses interviewed
Amnesty investigators interviewed 45 people who witnessed — or had first-hand knowledge of — unlawful killings of their relatives and neighbours by Russian soldiers, and 39 others who witnessed or had first-hand knowledge of the airstrikes that targeted eight residential buildings.
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Amnesty also acknowledged it had looked at allegations by Russian authorities that Russian prisoners of war were mistreated by the Ukrainians.
Specifically, it examined a video that circulated online and established that it is authentic.
Callamard said her organization doesn't discriminate and believes that all possible war crimes deserve a full investigation.
Amnesty noted that a recent Ukrainian law that mandates co-operation with the International Criminal Court on war crimes investigations specifically excludes allegations made against Ukrainian forces.
Callamard said any justice processes or mechanisms need to be as comprehensive as possible, and ensure that all perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and the crime of aggression in Ukraine, from all parties to the conflict, are brought to justice in fair trials, without recourse to the death penalty.
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