What is the dart shell suspected of being used in Butch?

In Bocce, residents found steel arrows on the ground, but also on corpses. This non-proscribed weapon was first used during the First World War.

Weapon arrows? In the Bucha district – the city’s martyrdom in the war in Ukraine in which many civilians were killed and some were tortured – small metal arrows were observed.

“We found many tiny nail-like objects on the bodies of both men and women,” Ukrainian medical examiner Vladislav Perovsky told the British newspaper. Watchman. He adds that many of his colleagues made the same observation on other bodies in the area.

journalists Washington Post The one on the spot also noticed on the ground the presence of these pointed coins, which are a few centimeters long.

“If you look in my garden, you will find a lot of it,” one of the Butch residents told them.

She says she found these pointed projectiles planted on the roof of her car at the end of March, after a night of intense bombing.

“Shells explode in the air and throw arrows”

These arrows are steel projectiles 2 to 4 cm long, with a sharp tip in front and four fins in the back. This type of weapon is not new, and was actually used during the First World War, the Australian National Monument website recalls; According to this same source, the French were the first to use it in 1914, followed by the British and Germans.

At the time, “darts were dropped in great numbers from airplanes or airships, with each package containing between 20 and 250 darts.”

Steel air dart made in Germany during World War I
Steel air dart made in Germany during World War I © Australian War Memorial

Today, we are talking instead of thousands of arrows being fired at the same time as projectiles. Amnesty International explained in 2014 that “darts shells, usually fired from tanks, contain between 5,000 and 8,000. The shells explode in the air and the darts are dropped in the shape of a cone over an area of ​​approximately 300 meters by 100.” These weapons are “intended for use in subsequent infantry attacks or against forces operating in open areas,” and can be lethal.

“The principle is to fill the shells with thousands of small arrows with a diameter of 2-4 cm with small fins. You shoot the projectile at a great distance, then at a certain height the projectile explodes and it will spread at a very high speed and by a lot all these arrows will irrigate almost three football fields, ” Advertise on CNews Bruno Clermont, General of the Air Force.

This ammunition is allowed

Weapons capable of causing serious harm to the civilian population, but they are not prohibited by international conventions.

“We are talking about ammunition that is allowed in war, this is ammunition that is in service in certain armies, and not in the French army,” currently explains General Bruno Clermont.

In 2014, at the beginning of the Donbas war in Ukraine, arrows of this type were found on the wounded. Amnesty International has previously accused Israel of using this type of lethal weapon. The organization explained that it “collected information showing Israel’s use of these weapons, especially during Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009), and the killing of civilians, including children.”

X-ray image of a person who was hit by arrows, on October 22, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine
X-ray image of a person hit by an arrow bullet, October 22, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine. © DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP

In 2008, Fadel Shana’a, a 24-year-old cameraman for Reuters news agency, was killed “by several arrows that exploded from a shell fired by an Israeli tank,” according to Reuters. Eight other civilians between the ages of 12 and 20 were killed in the shooting and another seven, aged between 10 and 18, were injured. The IDF concluded that the fatal shooting was justified, because the soldiers then believed the camera was a weapon.

“Never used in densely populated areas”

Amnesty International states that if “international humanitarian law does not specifically prohibit darts, it should never be used in densely populated areas”.

In fact, the origin of any weapon, even licensed, can be a war crime. In the case of Ukraine and Bucha, the use of these arrows per se is not prohibited, it can even be indicated their use by the Russian army, since it seems to be aimed at civilians, which is prohibited.

According to the rules of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, war crimes are defined as “the intentional directing of attacks against the civilian population as such or against civilians not taking a direct part in hostilities.” or “The truth is that intentionally directing attacks against civilian targets, that is, targets that are not military objectives.”

In Bucha, investigators gather evidence and information about the numerous war crimes that Russia is accused of committing after its invasion. The aim is to identify and convict the perpetrators of these acts.

Salome Vincendon

Salome Vincendon BFMTV journalist

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