It is important to unite efforts and work so that the direct perpetrators of crimes are justly punished.
War crimes committed by Russia on the territory of Ukraine will be documented and investigated for years, decades
This was stated in an interview with DW by human rights activist Tatyana Pechonchik, head of the board of the ZMINA Human Rights Center.
“War crimes will be documented and investigated for years, decades. It is important to set yourself up for this, join forces and work so that the direct perpetrators of crimes, as well as Russian President Putin and the top leadership of the Russian Federation, who started an aggressive war against Ukraine eight years ago, are justly punished” , she noted.
Pechonchik noted that her organization is documenting the enforced disappearances of active citizens in the territories that were occupied by the Russian army after February 24, 2022.
“Now that we are talking about the third wave of Russian aggression, it is difficult to give an exact number of enforced disappearances, but this practice is very common, and we can say that we are talking about thousands of cases,” she said.
Those who were released talk about torture.
“We have documented more than 300 cases of kidnapping of activists, journalists, volunteers, representatives of local authorities or their relatives. Of these cases, more than 120 people are still in Russian captivity, there is no information about them, or very little. 181 people were released, 12 people were tortured to death. Those people who were released often talk about the use of torture,” Pechonchik stressed.
According to her, now the largest number of recorded disappearances occurred in Kherson (122 cases) and Zaporozhye (90 cases) regions, but this practice is not new and has been used by Russia since 2014.
“This is not something new, we have seen it before, albeit on a smaller scale. When Russia occupied Crimea, mass kidnappings of activists and journalists, especially of Crimean Tatar origin, also began. During the years of occupation, there were at least 44 cases of enforced disappearances in Crimea, most of all in 2014. Subsequently, when Russia unleashed a war in the Donbass, there were already hundreds of such cases,” Pechonchik said.
As UNIAN reported, Prosecutor General Andrey Kostin said in an interview with CBS News on September 18 that 34,000 Russian war crimes have now been recorded. Now cases of war crimes committed in the Kharkiv region, in particular in Izyum, are now a priority.
In addition, Kostin said that Ukrainian law enforcement officers identified five children aged 4 to 16 who were victims of sexual violence by Russian invaders during a full-scale war.