War crimes in the Kharkiv Region, 24 February-20 November 2022
Since the war began on 24 February last year the KHPG has been recording and documenting the international crimes (war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide) allegedly committed by Russian invaders and occupying forces in the Kharkiv Region. In this overview we describe many of the events recorded by the KHPG in the Kharkiv Region during the first nine months of Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine. These events/incidents have all been recorded in the T4P database.
A detailed description of these incidents and links to the source materials was provided throughout this period in the daily chronicle of events published (in Ukrainian) on the KHPG website. A full version of the present survey is available in Ukrainian on the KHPG website.
An overview of the documented incidents
Between 24 February and 20 November 2022, the KHPG documented 7,215 incidents in the Kharkiv Region. The greatest number of incidents, a total of 2,515, was recorded in Kharkiv itself, Ukraine’s second largest city.
In the Kharkiv Region the greatest concentration of incidents was found in the south-east, in the Izium district where at least 1,814 incidents were recorded. A substantial number of incidents, no less than 1,349 events provisionally classified as international crimes, were recorded in the Kharkiv district which surrounds the regional capital. Elsewhere incidents were distributed as follows: the Chuhuiv (586) and Kupiansk districts (547) to the east; and the Bohodukhiv (345), Lozovaya (42) and Krasnohrad districts (14) to the west.
In gathering information about these incidents, the KHPG concentrated on making personal contact with the victims and survivors of these war crimes and with those who had witnessed the events. This enabled us to document the kind of data that may be used in any future trial.
With the prior agreement of the individuals whom we contacted, the history of a particular incident was in many cases recorded and sometimes filmed. The interview might subsequently take textual form and appear in the “Voices of War” section on the KHPG website; it might also be posted as a video on the organisation’s YouTube channel.
1. Casualties among the civilian population
Over the period under consideration the KHPG gathered information about at least 2,879 incidents in which civilians lost their lives, sustained injuries or suffered other violations of their human rights. Reporters, journalists and our monitors managed to gather and process information about no less than 5,541 people who fell victim to war crimes and crimes against humanity. According to our data no less than 144 of them were children (i.e., under 18 years old) [note 1].
Between 24 February and 20 November, the KHPG documented no less than 682 incidents that led to the death of one or more individuals. In total, 1,389 people lost their lives, among them at least 61 children (cf. Human Casualties, “Deaths”). Over the same period, we documented at least 595 incidents in which 1,643 individuals were injured or suffered other serious harm to their health; there were at least 74 children among them.
In the full version of this report the KHPG also cites statistical information about those who went missing during these nine months and about cases of rape and other violations of human rights.
2. Sites attacked
Between 24 February and 20 November 2022, the KHPG was able to gather information about damage to no less than 6,271 civilian objects or their destruction as a result of the war.
In particular, we documented damage to residential buildings and those linked to education, the health service and commercial or factory premises; the KHPG also recorded damage and destruction of historic monuments and buildings dedicated to religion or the arts (cf. Sites Attacked, “Residential buildings”).
According to our information no less than 3,605 residential buildings, 292 schools and colleges, 67 hospitals and clinics and 855 shops and factories were damaged or destroyed in the Kharkiv Region.
3. Aspects of the documented incidents
During the period concerned the greatest number of incidents were linked to shelling or bombardment: a total of 4,618 events (cf. Aspects of Incidents, “Shelling / Bombardment”).
Over these 270 days there was significant increase in the numbers of documented disappearances, making up 1,387 incidents in which 1,710 people went missing. There were 157 instances of torture or inhuman treatment, the majority of which were recorded in the last three months, from September to November 2022.
4. Legal assessment
During the gathering of information, the KHPG made a provisional assessment, classifying these documented incidents according to the Articles of the 1998 Rome Statute which established the International Criminal Court (cf. Statistics by legal definition, “Incidental damage to property”). Again, this statistical information may be found in the full version of this report.
Between 24 February and 20 November 2022 numerous incidents (events) took place in the Kharkiv Region that could be qualified as international crimes, committed by the Russian invaders and occupying forces.
An analysis of the accumulated data enables us to classify these events as war crimes under Articles 6 (genocide), 7 (war crimes) and 8 (crimes against humanity) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Actions by the invading and occupying forces may be classified as war crimes under Articles 8:2 (a) and (b), 7:1 and 6 (genocide).
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group continues to document these cases, extending and studying the information available so as to formulate and present legal evidence and argument within the framework of international procedures for the criminal investigation of such crimes and their prosecution by international judicial institutions.
A full version of this report is available in Ukrainian on the KHPG website.
If you are able to provide further information about any incident, please use the attached form.
The author would like to express his thanks to the KHPG team without whose organised and selfless efforts this summary could not have been compiled.
 Information about how many children have suffered in the Kharkiv Region is being further investigated and assessed.