Amnesty International said on Friday it had evidence of alleged war crimes committed earlier this year by Russian forces in the kyiv region during the invasion of Ukraine.
Investigators from the human rights group have been documenting alleged war crimes in eight towns around the Ukrainian capital since late February.
The names of some places may already be familiar, including Bucha and Borodyanka, where Ukrainian authorities and international media have shocked the world with images of bound and massacred civilians and mass graves.
What Amnesty has done is interview survivors and collect evidence,” said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
“In other words, we know that the crimes committed against people living here are not just anecdotal,” she told a news conference in Kyiv after the investigation report was released. “We know they are part of a pattern that has characterized Russia’s conduct of hostilities from the start.”
Used ammunition matched with Russian military units
As part of the forensic investigation, the rights group claims to have matched specific spent ammunition with specific elite Russian military units accused of carrying out the atrocities.
Amnesty claims to have documented unlawful airstrikes on Borodyanka that killed up to 40 people.
The attacks were disproportionate and indiscriminate, devastating an entire neighborhood and leaving thousands homeless, the report concludes.
In Bucha and several other towns and villages northwest of Kyiv, Amnesty International documented 22 cases of unlawful killings by Russian forces, most of which were apparently extrajudicial executions.
WATCH | Building a war crimes case in Bucha:
“It is vital that all those responsible, including at the top of the chain of command, are brought to justice,” Callamard said.
Dozens of witnesses interviewed
Amnesty investigators interviewed 45 people who witnessed – or had direct knowledge – of the unlawful killings of their relatives and neighbors by Russian soldiers, and 39 others who witnessed or had direct knowledge of the strikes aerial attacks that targeted eight residential buildings.
Amnesty has also acknowledged that it has investigated allegations by Russian authorities that Russian prisoners of war were mistreated by Ukrainians.
Specifically, he reviewed a video that has been circulating online and found it to be genuine.
Callamard said his organization does not discriminate and believes that all possible war crimes deserve a thorough investigation.
Amnesty noted that a recent Ukrainian law that mandates cooperation with the International Criminal Court on war crimes investigations specifically excludes allegations against Ukrainian forces.
Callamard said any judicial process or mechanism must be as comprehensive as possible and ensure that all perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression in Ukraine, from all parties to the conflict , be brought to justice in fair trials, without recourse to the death penalty.