Violations of international law remain unpunished – human rights activists

Дата: 21 December 2015
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The Ukrainian authorities are advised to pass the bill which allows ratification of the Rome Statute and to prevent the escape of suspects.

This is stated in the joint report of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Center for Civil Liberties, the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, the Advisory Panel of Lawyers, and the Regional Centre for Human Rights.

During its monitoring visit, the FIDH experts were studying the shortcomings of the legislation and practices that hamper the fight against impunity, in particular, the investigation of crimes committed against the Euromaidan activists, the events that had taken place in Odesa on May 2, documenting of the crimes of aggression during the occupation of Crimea and the war crimes in Donbas.

The experts noted that the gross violations of humanitarian law remained unpunished in Ukraine and the authorities did not have a systematic approach to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

In particular, it refers to the delay in the investigation of crimes, committed by the Ukrainian side, the implementation of investigative actions on the complaints, the fettered access of lawyers of the victims to case materials, no access to particular crime scenes, even in the case of the government-controlled territories (for example, the Azov Battalion base, subject to the Central Department of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine), unwillingness to investigate the crimes committed by the Ukrainian side, or the complete absence of investigations into sexual crimes and crimes motivated by gender identity,” the report says.

The human rights activists are concerned by the fact that the people, who are allegedly involved in the crimes, still hold senior public positions, or have fled the country, including during the investigation and from the arrest. In addition, the effective investigation is undermined by corruption.

It is also noted that the investigating authorities, which are subject to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Defense Ministry, the Interior Ministry, or the Security Service of Ukraine, poorly coordinate their work.

The human rights activists hope that expansion of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for the entire period of the conflict in Ukraine will provide an impetus for the investigation. In their view, the Administration of the President and the Parliament should separate the adoption of amendments to the Constitution authorizing the ratification of the Rome Statute from the other issues to ensure smooth and effective procedure for the country’s accession to the ICC.

The human rights organizations recommend that the Ukrainian authorities should confirm their commitments to investigate the violations of the international law, to provide resources to the investigating authorities, and to ensure coordination between them, to improve the work of the police to prevent the escape of suspects.

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