New images from Boetsja important for investigation and prosecution

Those images are from March 4; drone footage from a day later shows the lifeless bodies of eight men near headquarters. The ninth Ukrainian survived. “I was shot and fell. The bullet ended up in my side,” he tells reporters. “I pretended to be dead. I didn’t move or breathe.” When he heard no more voices after fifteen minutes, he ran away.

Importance of images

“These images are very important in inciting prosecution and increasing public pressure to intervene,” said Alette Smeulers, professor of criminal law and criminology of international crimes at the University of Groningen. “The images suggest that the conditions were illegal to shoot anyway. You can shoot back and forth during combat and there can be deaths. But you can’t shoot at civilians, especially if they are not fighting.”

According to Sergey Vasiliev, assistant professor of international criminal law at the University of Amsterdam, the images can contribute to investigations into war crimes in Ukraine. “These are currently being carried out by both the Ukrainian authorities (with the help of experts from other countries, ed.), and by the investigative team of the International Criminal Court.”

Both Smeulers and Vasiliev say the images provide insight into what happened in the suburb of Kiev. The recordings are not only useful for identifying victims, as the newspaper did, but can also help in finding possible perpetrators. “I suspect the footage makes that easier, as there are a few stills of potentially involved military personnel. That will probably become part of criminal files in cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Butya,” Vasiliev said.

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