UN: Bodies in Ukraine´s Bucha "raise serious questions about possible war crimes"

The United Nations considered Sunday that the discovery of mass graves in the Ukrainian city of Bucha after the withdrawal of Russian forces from it raises serious questions about "possible war crimes", stressing the importance of preserving all evidence.

"We are not yet in the process of commenting directly on the causes and circumstances of the deaths of civilians in Bucha, but what we know to date clearly raises serious and worrying questions about possible war crimes and serious violations of international humanitarian law," the international human rights office said.

Ukrainian officials said Saturday that about 300 bodies were buried in mass graves. AFP saw at least 20 bodies, all in civilian clothes, in one street.

The UN human rights office noted that its staff on the ground have not yet been able to verify the numbers or details made public by Ukrainian officials.

But he said, "We are deeply concerned about the available photos and videos, including those that show dead bodies with their hands tied behind their backs."

"At the same time, we cannot rule out that among the approximately 300 bodies, reportedly collected from the streets and buried in recent days by city authorities, are those of Ukrainian or Russian soldiers killed during the hostilities," he added.

"Civilians who died of natural causes, heart attacks or other health conditions caused by stress and lack of access to medicines and medical help within the past month, may also be among those found dead on the city's streets," he added.

But given the possibility that she may have committed war crimes, the office said it was important to "exhume all the bodies and identify their owners."

He explained that this is essential "until relatives are informed and the exact cause of death is determined, in order to ensure accountability and justice."

"It is also important to take all measures to ensure that evidence is preserved," he concluded.

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