‘War Crimes of the armed forces and security forces of Ukraine:
torture and inhumane treatment (second report)’ was
prepared by a non-state organization ‘The Foundation for The Study of
Democracy’ (headed by M. Grigoriev) and the Russian Public Council
for International Cooperation and Public Diplomacy (presided over by
S. Ordzhonikidze) with the assistance of the Russian Peace Foundation
(L. Slutsky, Y. Sutormina), S. Mamedov, I. Morozov, E. Tarlo, D. Savelyev,
A. Chepa and other members of the Committee for Public Support of
the Residents of Southeastern Ukraine.
The data that has been accumulated since the first report by the
Foundation for Democracy Studies provides ground to conclude that
torture and inhumane treatment inflicted by the Security Forces of
Ukraine (SBU), by the Ukrainian armed forces, the National Guard and
other formations within the Interior Ministry of Ukraine, as well as by
illegal armed groups, such as Right Sector, have not only continued but
are gaining in scale and are becoming systematic.
In order to investigate specific cases of torture, inhumane or degrading
treatment, experts of the Foundation for Democracy Studies interviewed
the ex-prisoners released by the Ukrainian side. This report includes the
results of interviews with over 200 prisoners released by the Ukrainian side.
The interviews were conducted by experts of the Foundation during the
period from 25 August 2014 to 20 January 2015.
The prisoners were electrocuted, beaten cruelly and for multiple
days in a row with different objects (iron bars, baseball bats, sticks, rifle
butts, bayonet knives, rubber batons).
Techniques widely used by the Ukrainian armed forces and security
forces include waterboarding, strangling with a ‘Banderist garrotte’ and
other types of strangling.
In some cases prisoners, for the purposes of intimidation, were sent
to minefields and run over with military vehicles, which led to their
Other torture methods used by the Ukrainian armed forces and
security forces include bone-crashing, stabbing and cutting with a knife,
branding with red-hot objects, shooting different body parts with small
The prisoners taken captive by the Ukrainian armed forces and
security forces are kept for days at freezing temperatures, with no access
to food or medical assistance, and are often forced to take psychotropic
substances that cause agony.
An absolute majority of prisoners are put through mock firing
squads and suffer death and rape threats to their families.
Many of those tortured are not members of the self-defense forces of
the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR)1.
As the European Court of Human Rights opined, the Convention
on Human Rights prohibits in absolute terms torture, irrespective
of other circumstances. Moreover, it is assumed in the law of the
European Union that ‘the State is responsible for the actions of all of
its agencies, such as the police, security forces, other law enforcement
officials, and any other State bodies who hold an individual under
their control, whether they act under orders, or on their own accord.’
Unlike other clauses of the Convention related to rights, Article 3
makes no provision for derogation (reservations) in the event of a war
or any other emergency threatening national security. Article 15 (2)
explicitly states, that there can be no derogation from Article 3 within
The information collected by the Foundation for Democracy Studies
gives grounds to believe that the Ukrainian armed forces (VSU), the
National Guard and other military units of the Ministry of the Interior of
Ukraine, as well as the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) systematically
and on purpose violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human
Rights that reads, ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment.’
The extent to which torture is being used and the fact that this is
done systematically prove that torture is an intentional strategy of the
said institutions, authorized by their leadership.