OHCHR / UKRAINE PRISONERS OF WAR

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23-Aug-2022 00:01:57
Human Rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani expressed concern at reports that the Russian Federation and affiliated armed groups in Donetsk are planning to try Ukrainian prisoners of war in what is being labelled an ‘international tribunal’ in Mariupol. OHCHR

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STORY: OHCHR / UKRAINE PRISONERS OF WAR
TRT: 01:57
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE 23 AUGUST 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

Wide shot, exterior, flag alley, Palais des Nations

23 AUGUST 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, press room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“We are concerned by reports that the Russian Federation and affiliated armed groups in Donetsk are planning - possibly in the coming days - to try Ukrainian prisoners of war in what is being labelled an ‘international tribunal’ in Mariupol.”
4. Med shot, participants press conference
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Under international law, individuals entitled to prisoner-of-war status have combatant immunity and cannot be prosecuted for having participated in hostilities, or for lawful acts of war committed in the course of the armed conflict, even if such acts would otherwise constitute an offence under domestic law.”
6. Med shot, participants press conference
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“If prisoners of war are charged with crimes, they are entitled to due process and fair trial guarantees. No sentence or punishment may be passed on them unless it is delivered by an impartial and regularly constituted court.”
8. Wide shot, press conference
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“We recall that international humanitarian law prohibits the establishment of courts solely to judge prisoners of war and that wilfully depriving a prisoner of war of the rights of fair and regular trial amounts to a war crime.”
10. Med shot, participants press conference
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“We are furthermore concerned that prisoners of war have generally been held without access to independent monitors, exposing them to the risk of being tortured to extract a confession.”
12. Close up, hands typing
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“There have also been worrying public statements by Russian officials and members of affiliated armed groups labelling Ukrainian prisoners of war as ‘war criminals’, ‘Nazis’, and ‘terrorists’, thereby undermining the presumption of innocence.”
14. Wide shot, press conference

STORYLINE:

Human Rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani today (23 Aug) expressed concern at reports that the Russian Federation and affiliated armed groups in Donetsk are planning to try Ukrainian prisoners of war in what is being labelled an ‘international tribunal’ in Mariupol.

While there are few details available, photos and video footage published in the media and on social media appear to show metal cages being built in Mariupol’s philharmonic hall, apparently to restrain prisoners of war during proceedings.

Speaking to reporters during the bi-weekly press briefing in Geneva, Shamdasani said, “under international law, individuals entitled to prisoner-of-war status have combatant immunity and cannot be prosecuted for having participated in hostilities, or for lawful acts of war committed in the course of the armed conflict, even if such acts would otherwise constitute an offence under domestic law.”

“If prisoners of war are charged with crimes, they are entitled to due process and fair trial guarantees. No sentence or punishment may be passed on them unless it is delivered by an impartial and regularly constituted court,” she added.

Shamdasani said, “we recalled that international humanitarian law prohibits the establishment of courts solely to judge prisoners of war and that wilfully depriving a prisoner of war of the rights of fair and regular trial amounts to a war crime.”

She said, “we are furthermore concerned that prisoners of war have generally been held without access to independent monitors, exposing them to the risk of being tortured to extract a confession.”

“There have also been worrying public statements by Russian officials and members of affiliated armed groups labelling Ukrainian prisoners of war as ‘war criminals’, ‘Nazis’, and ‘terrorists’, thereby undermining the presumption of innocence,” she said.

Shamdasani reiterated the calls to the Russian Federation to grant independent monitors full access to all individuals detained in relation to the armed conflict in Ukraine by the Russian Federation, including those held by Russian-affiliated armed groups.
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