Electric shocks, sexual abuse, humiliation: In the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, both sides violated the humane treatment of prisoners of war.
According to UN human rights experts, prisoners of war were mistreated and tortured on both the Russian and Ukrainian sides in the Russian war against Ukraine. This was reported by the head of the UN human rights delegation in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, from Kyiv in Geneva.
Bogner reproduced reports from the prisoners detailing the abuse and torture. “The ban on torture and ill-treatment is absolute, even – or rather especially – in times of armed conflict,” said Bogner.
A Ukrainian prisoner held by Russia’s allies said he was tortured with electric shocks to his nose and genitals. On the other hand, there have been credible reports of killings of people not in combat at the time, as well as ill-treatment during capture and transport.
ICRC monitors compliance with the Geneva Conventions
Bogner did not know how many prisoners of war were taken by either side. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been trying for months to ensure unhindered access to the people. The ICRC is to monitor compliance with the Geneva Conventions, which stipulate, among other things, the humane treatment of prisoners of war.
Bogner said only the Ukrainian side gave the experts access to captured soldiers. The experts spoke to Ukrainian prisoners after their release from Russian custody. The delegation has spoken to 159 prisoners of war held by Russia or allied warring factions over the past few months, including 20 women. 175 men were spoken to in Ukrainian captivity.
Abused and attacked by dogs
Many Ukrainians reported being beaten upon arrest. They were crammed into trucks and sometimes transported for more than a day without water or access to toilets. Some said they were beaten, threatened, intimidated, humiliated, sexually abused or attacked by dogs in camps. This happened primarily in prison camps in Russia, Bogner said. Eight people are said to have died in a camp in April. Some women reported being electrocuted and beaten, or forced to run from room to room naked.
Russians said they were beaten and electrocuted in Ukrainian captivity. Many said they were transported in trucks, some naked, with their hands tied behind their backs. According to Bogner, the abuse happened mainly during arrest and during transport. People were treated appropriately in prison camps.