New report finds evidence that Russia used torture chambers and civilians as human shields in Ukraine

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Investigators work on June 13, at the scene where bodies of civilians killed by Russian soldiers were found near the village of Myrotske in Bucha district.
Investigators work on June 13, at the scene where bodies of civilians killed by Russian soldiers were found near the village of Myrotske in Bucha district. (Anna Opareniuk/Ukrinform/Abaca/Sipa USA)

A new report from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe documents the discovery of torture chambers at a summer camp in Bucha, Ukraine.

This report — OSCE’s second one — covered the period between April 1 to June 25. The OSCE experts traveled to Ukraine to collect evidence, including visiting the towns of Bucha and Irpin, which the report said were “two emblematic examples of the breaches of International Humanitarian Law under the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, which constitute war crimes.”

The experts noted that photographic and video evidence showed Russian forces carried out “targeted, organized killings of civilians in Bucha” who were found shot dead with their hands tied behind their backs.

The report documented a “series of torture chambers separated by concrete walls” discovered at a summer camp in Bucha, including a room that the report said appeared to be used for executions with bullet holes in the walls.

In another room where experts said there was evidence of torture and waterboarding, five dead men were found. “They were covered with burns, bruises, and lacerations,” the report said.

In a village in the Bucha district, the bodies of 18 men, women and children were discovered in a basement.

The report said that “some had their ears cut off, while others had their teeth pulled out.”

The OSCE mission wrote that reports of women and girls being raped and sexually abused by Russian forces “have become abundant,” especially in territories newly occupied by Russian forces.

The report noted several particularly atrocious cases, including a report from the Ukrainian Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmyla Denisova, who said that 25 girls aged 14 to 24 years old were kept in a basement in Bucha and gang-raped. Nine became pregnant, the report said.

The report also documented instances of Ukrainian civilians being used as “human shields,” being forced to fight alongside Russians against their own country in the ongoing war and being displaced to Russia without their consent. 

The report noted: “Russian soldiers used over 300 Ukrainian civilians as human shields and held them captive for 25 days in March in the basement of Yahidne School, where a major Russian military camp was located.”

July 15, 2022 at 04:33AM

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