Torture and ill-treatment of civilian population in Ukrainian territories that were under Russian occupation

This report analyses the cases of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment documented by the Human Rights Centre ZMINA in Kharkiv, Kyiv, and Kherson regions in January-March 2023, as well as data collected from open sources.

The research includes the general overview of the systematic practices of torture and ill-treatment of the civilian population in the newly occupied territories, the analysis of the types of places of unlawful detention and torture, the peculiarities of the detention of civilians and categories of local residents who were at the greatest risk of torture and ill-treatment (former Ukrainian military personnel, ATO/JFO participants, former and current employees of law enforcement and security agencies, civilian volunteers, political and civil society activists, representatives of government agencies and local self-government bodies, local entrepreneurs, opinion leaders, participants in the resistance to the occupation, as well as people with a pro-Ukrainian stance), information about structures involved in torture and ill-treatment, methods of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment, as well as individual documented cases of torture. 

The information and testimonies presented in this research were properly collected and documented by the Human Rights Centre ZMINA in accordance with international standards and submitted to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, national investigative bodies, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission, Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, International Criminal Court – with the prospect of their further investigation, presentation to national and international audience. This will contribute to the identification of Russian military personnel involved in the commission of torture, their prosecution, and the compensation for victims of torture.

The report was prepared by Human Rights Centre ZMINA as part of the project “Documentation of cases of torture committed during the Russian armed aggression against Ukraine” with the support of the Prague Civil Society Centre.

ZMINA is grateful to Maryia Kvitsinskaya, World Organisation Against Torture (ОМСТ) for her assistance in reviewing this report.

The report is available in English and Ukrainian.

Authors: Borys Petruniok, Oleh Hnatiuk, Tetiana Pechonchyk