Human Rights Watch says it has documented various violations of the laws of war by Russian forces in occupied zones of Ukraine’s Kyiv, Kharkiv and Chernihiv regions, Belga News Agency reports.
The violations, including repeated rape, summary executions, other acts of violence, and threats against civilians, were documented between 27 February and 14 March, according to the NGO, which also confirmed the looting of civilian property by the Russian military.
“The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Rape, murder, and other violent acts against people in the custody of the Russian forces should be investigated as war crimes.”
The laws of war prohibit voluntary homicide, rape and other types of sexual violence, torture and inhumane treatment of captured fighters and detained civilians, as well as looting and plundering. Anyone who orders or commits, assists or encourages such acts is responsible for a war crime.
“Russia has an international legal obligation to impartially investigate alleged war crimes by its soldiers,” Williamson said. The NGO had previously also reported on possible war crimes by Ukrainian forces against Russian prisoners.