UN says images from Bucha show “all the signs” that civilians were “directly targeted and killed”

The United Nations on Tuesday said that the images of the atrocities carried out in the Ukrainian town of Bucha show “all the signs” that civilians were “directly targeted and directly killed.”  

Addressing a virtual press briefing, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesperson Liz Throssell reiterated the UN’s “horror” at images that emerged showing civilian bodies strewn across the streets of the town located northwest of Kyiv.  

“What we have seen emerging from Bucha and from other areas clearly points to very disturbing developments. That the brutality, the targeting of the civilians really underscores that this is so concerning. You know, really looking at the video and the footage coming out of there is all the signs that the victims were directly targeted and directly killed,” Throssell said.  

She made particular reference to “disturbing” images of people with their hands tied behind their back and of partially naked women whose bodies have been burnt, saying they “strongly suggest” the direct targeting of individuals. 

“We have been talking about war crimes in the context of shelling, bombardment, and artillery attacks. Now they need to be investigated. But you could argue there was a military context, for example, to a building being hit. It’s hard to see what was the military context of an individual lying in the street with a bullet to the head or having their bodies burned,” Throssell continued. 

As the OHCHR is trying to currently gain access to Bucha, she didn’t have “exact information” to share regarding the situation on the ground. 

“Given the way that our office works, we are not saying that a specific incident is a war crime. We can’t establish that yet. That is why there needs to be detailed forensic examinations, for example,” she added.  

Throssell paid tribute to the “crucial role” that journalists are playing in documenting these scenes, mentioning the “multiple teams” involved in “reporting, analyzing, and sending video footage.” 

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