A human rights group investigator gathered evidence of potential war crimes in Bucha, outside Kyiv, on Monday.
The discovery of a mass grave and bodies shot at close range in the town Ukrainian forces reclaimed from Russian troops, led to a global outcry over civilian killings, as more graphic images of their deaths emerge.
Human Rights Watch investigator, Richard Weir, said:
"I think what we've seen here is pretty strong indications that a number of wilful killings or murders took place on the basis of the fact that we have a number of people who appear to have been killed with their hands bound behind their backs using plastic zip ties,"
"That raises concerns about wilful killings were murders and done in the course of an armed conflict (...)which constitutes a war crime," Weir added.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague defines war crimes as "grave breaches" of the post-World War Two Geneva Conventions, which lay out humanitarian laws to be followed in war time. Attacking legitimate military targets where civilian casualties would be “excessive” also violates the conventions, legal experts say.
Bucha's deputy mayor said on Sunday that 50 residents had been victims of extra-judicial killings carried out by Russian troops.
"They were here, shooting. They burned down the shed, everything," recalled Bucha resident Vladimir, who said the Russians killed his son-in-law.
The Kremlin categorically denied any accusations related to the murder of civilians, including in Bucha, where it said the graves and corpses had been staged by Ukraine to tarnish Russia.
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