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War Crimes Investigations Unit

War Crimes Investigations Unit

The Kyiv Independent

Kyiv, Ukraine

Category Video

Overview of this campaign

The overall mission of The Kyiv Independent is to serve as the bridge between Ukraine and the world, delivering reliable news, context, and on-the-ground reporting.

The first objective of the War Crimes Unit is to inform the world about the atrocities that Russian citizens and Russia-controlled officials commit towards Ukrainians through high-quality video documentaries.

Another objective of this particular product is to investigate and showcase the systematicity and scale of the war crimes committed by Russian citizens and Russian-controlled officials against Ukrainians, including deliberate murder of children, illegal deportation of children to Russia, and torture of Ukrainian prisoners of war and civilians. Ideally, to not only spread the information, but also to provide evidence to legal, political, diplomatic, and other kinds of officials organizations with the power to achieve change. For example, to bring the deported children back to Ukraine. 


Results for this campaign

Currently, the War Crimes Unit campaign consists of 3 documentaries: “Uprooted”, “Bullet Holes”, and “Faces of Torture”.

The results of “Uprooted”:

The team established the names of Russian-controlled officials who took part in the abduction of Ukrainian children.

The Kyiv Independent found 31 children taken to Russia in May 2022 from occupied parts of Ukraine. Part of the group was later put up for adoption in Russia. The findings from the film were included in the UN expert report on the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russian territory. 

Additionally, a lawyer from the Regional Human Rights Center (Ukraine) filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court. The complaint aimed to hold collaborator Svitlana Maiboroda accountable. She remained working in the occupied Donetsk after 2014 and was implicated in the deportation of Ukrainian children. After the release of the film, President Zelensky included Svitlana Maiboroda in Ukraine's sanctions list as a person allegedly involved in crimes against Ukrainian children.

As a result of the public attention, the Ukrainian authorities brought home two boys from Russia whose stories were featured in the film Uprooted: Bogdan Yermokhin and Oleksandr Naumkin.

The results of “Faces of Torture”:

For six months, the Kyiv Independent team worked on recreating a picture of the events that took place in the Olenivka prison, used by Russians as a camp for prisoners of war and civilian hostages from Mariupol. 

The team recorded dozens of interviews with the servicemen and civilians who witnessed gross violations of international law. They collected information about the functioning of the prison, as well as its guards, managers, and supervisors from Russia. They were able to identify the people who were involved in the systematic abuse of the defenders of Mariupol.

All in all, the War Crimes Unit continues to cooperate with state bodies, advocacy groups, activists, and human rights defenders on the issues investigated in each film.


To contact a company representative about this campaign, click here for the INMA Member Directory

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