EU calls for war crimes tribunal amid mass grave in Ukraine

Horrifying photos emerged on Sunday showing alleged “torture chambers” used by Russian forces against Ukrainians – as the head of the European Union called for a new probe into war crimes against the Kremlin.

At least some of the troubling snaps were taken in a damp concrete basement that doubled as a makeshift prison for Russian forces, behind a supermarket in the newly liberated village of Kozach Lopan in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, Ukrainian authorities said.

Dirty bedding is strewn on the damp concrete floor amid pieces of Styrofoam in some of the rooms with bars across them.

Also, two black buckets, apparently used as toilets, stand in a corner while cigarette butts and empty pumpkin seed shells are thrown across the floor.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Saturday that “in the liberated areas of the Kharkiv region, more than 10 torture chambers have already been found in various cities and towns”.

He also said that “a room for torture and tools for electric torture were found in a train station in Kozach Lopan.”

The alleged discoveries come as the head of the European Union has called for a war crimes investigation into the newly discovered mass burial site containing the bodies of women and children in the liberated Ukrainian town of Izyum.

Ukrainian authorities said there was evidence many of the victims were tortured before they died.

“In the first grave lies a civilian with a rope around her neck. So we see the traces of torture,” Kharkiv regional prosecutor Oleksandr Ilyenkov told the BBC.

A satellite view of the entrance to the cemetery and forest in Izyum, Ukraine.
A satellite view of the entrance to the cemetery and forest in Izyum, Ukraine.
Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Tec/AFP via Getty Images

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, tweeted that the hundreds of bodies just found in Izyum could constitute “unthinkable and heinous” war crimes.

“We stand for punishment of all war criminals”, wrote Lipavsky. “In the 21st century, such attacks on civilians are unthinkable and abhorrent.

“We can’t overlook that,” he said. “I demand quick setup an international special court that will prosecute the crime of aggression.”

Two forensic scientists are digging near a cross in a forest on the outskirts of Izyum.
Ukrainian authorities said there was evidence many of the victims were tortured before they died.
AFP via Getty Images
Members of the Ukrainian emergency services work at a mass burial site during an exhumation.
Members of the Ukrainian emergency services exhume a mass grave site.
REUTERS

So far, 59 bodies have been exhumed from graves in a forest on the outskirts of the town, which was occupied by Russian forces until a recent counter-offensive by Ukrainian forces retook the town at the eastern end of the besieged country.

Izyum is about 100 miles from Kozach Lopan.

Zelenskyi said Russia must answer for its atrocities “both on the battlefield and in the courtrooms.”

Ukraine has been wracked by war since Russian ruler Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of the eastern European nation in February.

Russia’s military has suffered severe setbacks in recent weeks, with Ukrainian forces forcing Putin’s army to withdraw from some occupied territories – although Russia has vowed to retake much of the lost territory.

Allegations of atrocities by Russian occupying forces have shaken the world.

In July, the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague called for an “overarching strategy” for dealing with alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

With AP

https://nypost.com/2022/09/18/eu-calls-for-war-crimes-tribunal-amid-mass-grave-in-ukraine/ EU calls for war crimes tribunal amid mass grave in Ukraine

JACLYN DIAZ

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