Both Russia and Ukraine tortured prisoners of war during ongoing conflict, says UN

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The United Nations said on Tuesday that its investigation has revealed that prisoners held by both Russia and Ukraine during the ongoing conflict have been subjected to torture.

As per the investigation conducted by the UN, the prisoners were beaten up, given electric shocks and were also humiliated in custody. Matilda Bogner, head of the UN Rights Monitoring Mission, told reporters that this violates international laws that promises “the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment is absolute, even — indeed especially — in times of armed conflict”.

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AFP reported that the investigation was carried out by UN officials who interviewed 159 prisoners of war held by Russia and 175 prisoners held by Ukraine. Most of them were men and Bogner said that although both sides flouted rules, the Russian torture was comparatively more “systematic”.

“Their hands were tied and eyes covered so tightly with duct tape that it left wounds on their wrists and faces,” Bogner said. “Torture and ill-treatment were not only used to coerce prisoners of war to give military information. They were used on a daily basis to intimidate and humiliate them.”

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“We also documented various forms of sexual violence, such as pulling a male victim by a rope tied around his genitalia, or forced nudity combined with the threat of rape,” Bogner added.

In the aftermath of the investigations, the UN demanded both Russia and Ukraine to address the issue and hold the people accountable for their actions. While Ukraine has launched few investigations into such allegations, the UN said that more needs to be done on this front.

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