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Rights experts ‘deeply troubled’ by Russian Wagner Group recruitment of prisoners

WorldEuropeRights experts 'deeply troubled' by Russian Wagner Group recruitment of prisoners
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In a statement, dozens of experts said representatives of the Russian-owned mercenary organization “were offering pardons to prisoners serving criminal sentences who joined the group and took part in the war in Ukraine, as well as their relatives”. Also paying monthly”.

expert – member of working group on the use of mercenariesThe Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance, and other Special Rapporteurs – said Wagner allegedly recruited both Russian and foreign citizens is serving a sentence in correctional facilities.

Independent experts said they were exposed to pressure tactics by Wagner recruiters, suggesting that in some cases recruitment was done through threats or intimidation,

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In some cases, detainees were reportedly denied communication with their families and lawyers by the group’s recruiters, “which may amount to, or have forced, their disappearance.”

press ganged

“Reports that the recruited prisoners were allegedly taken to a detention facility in the Rostov region for training before being sent to Ukraine, and that they were transferred to Ukraine without identity documents and a deal with the Wagner group The need to sign a contract is very troubling,” human rights council-said the appointed experts.

“We are particularly concerned that the Wagner Group has increased its recruitment to correctional facilities in Ukraine’s Donetsk region,” he said.

Recruits recruited at the prison are stationed in the partially Russian-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine and perform a variety of tasks, including “providing military services, rebuilding infrastructure, and directly participating in hostilities on behalf of Russian forces”. has been put to do.” ” They said.

alleged violation

“Wagner Group Recruitment is accused of participating in violations of human rights and humanitarian law In the context of the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine,” he said, “including the enforced disappearance of Ukrainian soldiers and the authorities took over”.

“We are troubled by allegations that inmates admitted Are regularly threatened and abused by their superiors,” experts added.

“We have information about Many recruits have been publicly executed for attempting to escape and in other cases for seriously injuring themselves. As a warning to other recruits. Such tactics violate human rights and may amount to war crimes.

Experts stressed that countries have an obligation to regulate and monitor private military and security firms operating in their jurisdictions, including recruiting personnel.

duty to protect

“The Government of the Russian Federation has a Obligation to exercise utmost care for the safety of prisoners by violence, exploitation and intimidation, ”said the experts.

“States have an obligation to prohibit private individuals and companies exploiting the vulnerability of prisoners for profithe added.

Experts have expressed their concern about these allegations to both the Russian government and the Wagner Group itself, which is owned by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts act in their individual capacities. They are not employees of the United Nations, nor are they paid for their work.

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