UN warns that trial of prisoners in Mariupol would be war crime

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The UN Office for Human Rights has shown on Tuesday its “concern” about the possible start of a trial against prisoners captured by the Russian side in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, to the extent that carrying it out could even amount to a war crime.

The United Nations has echoed speculation that “in the next few days” there may be a trial, after images began to circulate of the alleged installation of cages in a theater in Mariupol.

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At the helm of this court, “categorized as an ‘international tribunal,'” would be Russian forces and separatist rebels loyal to Moscow operating in eastern Ukraine, High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani has noted.

This spokeswoman recalled that international law also covers prisoners of war, who, for example, enjoy a certain immunity and cannot be prosecuted by an actor involved in the war.

If charged, “they are entitled to due process and fair trial guarantees.” “They cannot receive any sentence or punishment if it does not derive from an impartial and lawfully constituted judge,” he has added.

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Shamdasani has reproached the Russian authorities and related armed groups for systematically labeling prisoners captured from the Ukrainian side as “war criminals, Nazis and terrorists”, as he considers that this would not be taking into account the presumption of innocence that any detainee should enjoy.

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski has warned that if the Mariupol trials begin, there will be no possibility of negotiations between Kiev and Moscow.

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