Ukraine files first war-crimes charges against Russia, alleging mistreatment of civilians in Bucha

Ukraine on Thursday filed the first-ever war crime charges against Russia, accusing 10 soldiers of torturing and committing violence against citizens in the town of Bucha.

Iryna Venediktova, the prosecutor general of Ukraine, announced criminal charges against 10 Russian soldiers with the 64th separate motorized rifle brigade, saying they were being brought by the Buchanna District Prosecutor’s Office in Ukraine.

In a Facebook post, Venediktova said a short investigation had revealed the soldiers “captured unarmed civilians hostage, killed them with hunger and thirst, held them on their knees with tied hands and closed eyes” in Bucha.

“We have evidence [of] that, of course, and these soldiers of the world’s first army of looters [who] robbed locals, taking personal belongings and ‘trophy’ household appliances,” the prosecutor general wrote on Facebook.

The prosecutor general’s office set up an information portal on its website for Ukrainians to submit data and evidence of war crimes.

Venediktova also released images of the 10 Russian soldiers with the 64th separate motorized rifle brigade who were charged. It’s unclear how the case against the 10 soldiers would be managed in court and if it would be tried in absentia.

The 64th separate motorized rifle brigade was praised by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who awarded the unit a decree on April 18 that honored it for “mass heroism, courage, steadfastness and courage, and shown by the personnel of the brigade in combat operations to protect the Fatherland.”

After Russian forces retreated from the region around the capitol of Kyiv, they allegedly left behind hundreds of graves filled with the bodies of civilians in Bucha, raising cries of war crimes and human rights violations.

Russia denied the reports and said the photos of mass graves and dead civilians with hands tied behind their backs in the streets of Bucha were staged.

President Biden has said Russia committed war crimes and after Bucha, accused Russian forces of carrying out a genocide, although the U.S. has not issued a final determination on those accusations.

Similar war crime accusations have been made in the port city of Mariupol, where tens of thousands may have died amid a brutal shelling attack that has completely decimated the city.

Following the Russian withdrawal from Kyiv, Ukraine has been combing through evidence of war crimes in Bucha to prosecute locally and potentially internationally at the International Court of Justice.

Venediktova said she “looks forward” to working with the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Venediktova said in an interview Thursday with German news broadcaster Deutsche Welle that Ukraine was looking at more than 10,000 cases of war crimes.

“Every day we start new cases,” she said. “It is killing civilians, blowing civilian infrastructure — it is torture.”

Tags Bucha Civilians Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin war crimes

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