Amnesty International calls for respect for the rights of prisoners of war

The international human rights organization Amnesty International is seriously concerned about the fate of the defenders of Azovstal and calls on Russia to act in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

In a statement from the Deputy Director Amnesty International in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Denis Krivosheev says (verbatim):

“In defending Mariupol, the Ukrainian military was dehumanized by the Russian media and portrayed as ‘neo-Nazis’ by Putin’s propaganda throughout Russia’s war against Ukraine. Such circumstances raise serious concerns about the fate of Ukrainian combatants* as prisoners of war in temporarily occupied territory. Amnesty International has documented the killings captured in eastern Ukraine by Russian-backed armed groups during the armed conflict in Donbas in 2014-2015, as well as extrajudicial executions of Ukrainian civilians by Russian troops in the spring of 2022. The Ukrainian military, who were taken out of the Azovstal plant, should not suffer the same fate. The authorities that will detain Ukrainian combatants must fully respect the rights of prisoners of war in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.”

Krivosheev also stressed that prisoners of war should be given immediate access to representatives of the International Red Cross and should not be subjected to any form of torture or ill-treatment.

On May 18, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that about a thousand Ukrainian fighters left the blocked Azovstal plant in Mariupol, writes RIA News. The Russian Federation said that they would be interrogated. Denis Pushilin spoke in favor of an “international tribunal” over the Ukrainian military from Azovstal, and ideas are heard in the State Duma of Russia prohibit their exchange.

On May 17, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced that the Mariupol garrison completed the mission and gave the order to save the life of the personnel. On May 16, 53 seriously wounded servicemen were taken to a medical facility in Novoazovsk (the territory of the ORDO), the rest are in the occupied Yelenovka. The Ukrainian authorities plan to exchange them for Russian prisoners of war.

Reference. A combatant is a person who, according to international humanitarian law, is allowed to use force in a situation of armed conflict. A combatant is considered a legitimate military target during combat.

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