Tuesday, 20 September ‘22

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 20 September ‘22

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 20 September, 2022

War Crimes Investigations in the Kharkiv Region

The prosecutor general’s office announced that 28 mobile investigative and prosecutorial groups began work in the liberated territories of the Kharkiv region. “The combination of specialists from different areas [and] their coordinated actions will allow better investigation of war and other international crimes,” noted prosecutor general Andriy Kostin.

There will be 23 groups conducting inspections of destroyed civil infrastructure and the investigating murders among local residents. Another five groups are tasked to deal exclusively with incidents of torture as the search for the location of command posts of the Russian military in the liberated territories.

Photos from the Prosecutor General's Office.

Exhumation of Bodies in Izyum

Law enforcement officers had so far exhumed 146 bodies, including those of two children, at a mass burial site in Izyum, local officials said on September 19.  City mayor Valeriy Marchenko said that the process of exhumation would last about two weeks.  

“Signs of torture were found on individual bodies of the dead - fragments of ropes around the neck and other parts of the body, broken limbs, etc,” read a police statement.

A total of 445 graves were found so far in nearby forest. Amongst the dead was what appeared to be a family with small children, human right defenders reported.

“The bodies of the dead civilians and soldiers were sent to the forensic medical institution for a forensic medical examination,” an official statement read. Kharkiv regional prosecutor Olexander Ilyenkov told the BBC that there was no doubt war crimes had been committed.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' office said it also wanted to send a team to probe the mass graves in Izyum.

Photos here and here. Video of the exhumation and examination by a medical expert of the body of a dead Ukrainian soldier buried near Izyum here. All are from the Graty media.

Torture by Russian Troops Documented

Ukrainian law enforcement officers have been recording up to 200 war crimes committed by Russians every day, according to the general staff of the armed forces.

Numerous acts of torture by the Russian army have already been documented, including in the village of Kozacha Lopan and the cities of Kupyansk, Balakliya and Vovchansk. In general, in the de-occupied territories of, 10 death camps, arranged by the Russians, were–

Ihor Klymenko, head of the national police, said at a briefing on September 16 that ten prisoner camps had been discovered in the Kharkiv region.

“One of the torture chambers was located in Balakliya - in the local police station, where about 40 people were kept in cells. People were kept in terrible conditions for up to 48 days, abused and tortured,” he said. Another torture centre was located in the premises of a printing house.

"There was torture - we saw on people's hands traces of bare electric wires… We are now conducting investigations to determine the extent of the injuries sustained by people.”

The bodies of civilians with traces of torture were discovered in a liberated village, in Chuguyiv city in the Kharkiv region, the local prosecutor office published.

Police Help Document War Crimes in the Kharkiv Region

Deputy minister of internal affairs Yevhen Yenin said in an interview that police forces were being deployed to the Kharkiv region, taking part in war crimes investigations.

“We have received numerous reports of the commission of war crimes, which are recorded by our colleagues from the national police together with the investigators of the security service of Ukraine,” he said, adding that “from Bucha's experience, we understand very well that the most heinous crimes can only be exposed with time. We have already encountered the exhumation of individual bodies not only with signs of violent death, but also torture”.

This publication was prepared under the “Ukraine Voices Project" implemented with the financial support of the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO).

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