Holding Russia to Account for War Crimes in Ukraine

Reporting from Ukraine, a veteran war correspondent chronicles a campaign to collect evidence of Russian atrocities that might stand up in court against Putin, his commanders, and their troops.



A cemetery in Bucha, Ukraine, with body bags of recent exhumations left on the ground since there was no electricity and therefore no refrigeration in the morgues. BY LARRY TOWELL/MAGNUM PHOTOS.

Bucha became a commuter town, where those who couldn’t afford city prices built Soviet-style apartment blocks and small, pretty, pastel houses with neat square gardens and iron gates. Now this is a place that stinks of death. Evil things happened here. According to Amnesty International, those things included torture. Extrajudicial killings (murders without lawful authority). Indiscriminate shelling of homes.


Still, life returns, even to the most haunted of places. And it is returning to Bucha in slow motion. After all, life must return after war: Bosnian schools opened in Srebrenica after the 1995 genocide. In Rwanda, where more than 800,000 civilians, primarily Tutsis, were slaughtered in the spring of 1994, farms were replenished and soon grew coffee and corn, even after so much blood was spilled on that same earth. A little more than a month after the Russians retreated, the cleaning of Bucha had begun.


First published at Vanity Fair. The full story is available here.