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Tortures in the Occupied Territories of Ukraine: MIHR and other organizations to hold a side event at the OSCE SHDM II

ZMINA Human Rights Center, the Media Initiative for Human Rights, World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), and Human Rights House Foundation will hold a side event at the OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting II on the topic “Tortures in the Occupied Territories of Ukraine as Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes: Analysis and Survivors’ Testimonies” on 24 April at 17:30.


Russian troops systemically use torture and ill-treatment against civilians and prisoners of war to obtain information, punish them for disloyalty or for service in the Ukrainian army, and force them to cooperate. On the basis of around 100 in-depth interviews according to the Istanbul Protocol, we concluded that the goal of Russian officials is to coerce the local population into obedience and maintain control over it by identifying disloyal civilians and attacking them, as well as to humiliate prisoners of war.

Systematic violations of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions can be considered war crimes. Moreover, the patterns of documented cases indicate that these cruel actions may amount to crimes against humanity as they are interconnected and carried out as part of a common plan, coordinated by senior military leaders, and aimed at achieving a common political goal.

Human rights defenders and victims of torture will discuss:

  • Torture and ill-treatment of civilians: stories, patterns, and profiles
  • Torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of war: stories, patterns, and profiles
  • Current challenges in the process of documentation
  • Legal qualification and ways of bringing perpetrators to accountability
  • Recommendations to the OSCE


  • Yelyzaveta Sokurenko, Human Rights Centre ZMINA
  • Stanislav Miroshnychenko, Media Initiative for Human Rights
  • Eugenia Andreyuk, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
  • Oksana Zayaryna, survivor from Berdyansk, Zaporizhzhia region
  • Serhii Pohorielov, survivor from the Kyiv region
  • Maksym Kolesnikov, survivor from Kyiv, former POW

Moderator: Matthew Jones, Human Rights House Foundation

Contact: Tetiana Zhukova, Human Rights Centre ZMINA,

Background: Supplementary Human Dimension Meetings provide a platform for an exchange of views among OSCE participating States, OSCE institutions and other executive structures and international organizations, civil society, and other stakeholders to discuss the implementation of OSCE human dimension commitments within selected topics. The OSCE SHDM II will focus on “Torture and Other Grave Breaches of International Humanitarian Law and Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law” and will take place in Vienna on April 24–25, 2023.


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