Ukraine sends International Criminal Court details of execution of Ukrainian POWs by russia

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The Prosecutor General’s Office and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union prepared and sent an information notice to the International Criminal Court [ICC] about extrajudicial executions Ukrainian soldiers by russians.

The message consists of the facts of the extrajudicial executions of 9 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine by fighters of the so-called ‘Cossack Union’ Don Army Oblast during the fighting for Ilovaysk in 2014 and Debaltseve in 2015. This report will be considered by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, along with other episodes of serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by russian forces in eastern Ukraine in the 2014-2019 period.

Ukraine has provided photo and video evidence that directly indicates the capture of Ukrainian military prisoners, testimony of witnesses to the killings of prisoners, documents confirming the death of servicemen in captivity.

The report also covers the practice of proxy war, when russia uses illegal armed groups controlled by it. These illegal armed forces may be used by russia not only to achieve military superiority but also to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law.

At the same time, at both Ilovaisk and Debaltseve, russia is known to have used regular military personnel, and indeed in a study entitled russian Forces in Ukraine and published in March 2015 by the UK-based RUSI [the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies], military specialist Igor Sutyagin estimated that there were at least 10,500 – 11,000 russian troops operating in eastern Ukraine by March 2015. 

Sutyagin believes that “Direct intervention by russian troops in combat roles then followed in the middle of August, when the prospect of rebel defeat had become realistic. The presence of large numbers of russian troops on Ukrainian sovereign territory has, more or less, since become a permanent feature of the conflict.”

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