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Civilians Under Attack
Teaser
A documentary movie in which Gwara Media researches the topic of war crimes and the way to justice.
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Synopsys

Russian troops have been attacking Kharkiv since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. The shelling does not cease, and every day the city faces bombardments, destruction, and deaths of civilians.

As a result, 1,122 people died in the Kharkiv Oblast by August 30, 2022. This number continues to grow. The shelling continues. We don’t know what is happening in the occupied territories, as access to information is limited. However, we hope that with de-occupation comes the evidence of committed crimes and justice for all the guilty.

The movie Attack on Civilians explores the human rights infrastructure that works on documenting war crimes in the Kharkiv Oblast and the occupied territories: the killing of civilians, destruction of buildings, rape, theft, collaboration, and filtration camps.

The movie aims to document the crimes and analyze the collective trauma caused by war by telling the stories of victims or witnesses of the crimes. Also, we expand on what constitutes war crimes, how law enforcement agencies and human rights organizations interact, and what awaits the guilty.
We focus on the questions:
  • was the law enforcement system prepared for the war?
  • what were the most terrible recorded events?
  • what is to be done so that justice prevails, and the criminals get punished?
Gwara Media is a media about social changes in Kharkiv and Ukraine. Today, war crimes and their documentation are an important part of the social processes we cover.
FAQ

Why did you make such a movie?

Our team has worked in Kharkiv since the first days of the full-out war. We were looking for a way in which regional journalists could help restore justice and add to Ukrainian victory. We are regular civilians, scared of constant missile attacks, that once realized they also live inside a war crime. So we thought of justice. Will the guilty be punished? How can we help? That is how we started working on the movie and found many horrifying stories worth remembering.

What was the hardest thing in making a movie?

Exhumation. The hardest thing was to watch investigative actions and witness people’s pain. Another challenge was to realize that now Ukrainians are burying loved ones in the yard. How many families will not see their relatives because of the atrocities of the Russian army? One big “HOW?”.

When will the criminals be punished?

There are trials for Russian military prisoners. However, unfortunately, there are no guarantees that all war criminals will be found and punished. The International Criminal Court will consider 3-5 of the most egregious cases. National courts will deal with those who rape and kill.

The Nuremberg trials after the Second World War are a vivid example of how to bring people to justice. It is difficult to say how it will happen in our case, but human rights defenders hope for a similar tribunal.

Our team
  • Serhii Prokopenko
    Author of the idea, journalist
  • Oleksii Yeroshenko
    Director
  • Yaroslav Ustich
    Creative producer
  • Svitlana Rudiuk
    Mentor
Join our community
We are an independent digital media outlet based in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and dedicated to covering social changes.

We have been developing the creative environment of Ukraine’s second largest city before the beginning of the full-out Russian war. Times have changed. We did, too. Today our mission is to acquaint an international audience with the region.

We publish in Ukrainian and English. We conduct fact-checking investigations following IFCN standards. We are members of the EUROZINE network. Follow us on the website, Twitter and Linkedin.
Join our community

We are an independent digital media outlet based in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and dedicated to covering social changes.


We have been developing the creative environment of Ukraine’s second largest city before the beginning of the full-out Russian war. Times have changed. We did, too. Today our mission is to acquaint an international audience with the region.


We publish in Ukrainian and English. We conduct fact-checking investigations following IFCN standards. We are members of the EUROZINE network. Follow us on the website, Twitter and Linkedin.

Фільм створено у рамках програми Creators Fund, що є частиною проєкту MediaFit за підтримки Представництва ЄС в Україні та Європейської Комісії. DW Akademie разом із CFImedias і LRT English надають підтримку медіа-професіоналам Південної та Східної України.