Statement from Daria Morozova on IHL violation by armed formations of Ukraine

Comments and statements of the Ombudsman News

The lack of a proper response to the war crimes committed by the Ukrainian side in connection with the conflict in Donbass leads to an escalation of violence and to a gross violation of the norms and requirements of international humanitarian law. In particular, in violation of Article 13 of Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, regarding the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts, civilians, residential buildings and civilian infrastructure are increasingly targeted by Ukrainian armed formations. Over the past week, the number of civilians killed or injured as a result of the use by the Ukrainian side of prohibited methods of warfare was twice bigger than that of the previous ceasefire period, which began on July 21.

On September 6, as a result of a massive artillery attack, the Roza village, Novoazovsk region, was almost completely destroyed. At the same time, two civilians born in 1943 and 1957 were injured. On the same day, an operating school and a kindergarten in the nearby village of Kachkarskoye were targeted. Earlier, on September 4, a kindergarten in the city of Gorlovka was damaged.

Within a week, the village of Kominternovo, Novoazovsk region, was subjected to systematic shelling. As a result, more than a dozen houses were destroyed, a palace of culture was completely burned down, where representatives of humanitarian missions used to distribute humanitarian aid to the local population. At the same time, because of the shelling, fire brigades are sometimes unable to timely start the extinguishing, which exacerbates the consequences and creates additional threats to civilians.

These are to name but a few threats arising from shelling. Unexploded ordnance is particularly dangerous. On September 8, a peaceful resident of the village of Spartak, Yasinovataia region, born in 1961, died as a result of detonation of such ammunition. Another woman, born in 1962, was injured.

In addition, the armed forces of Ukraine continue to use unmanned aerial vehicles for carrying out indiscriminate attacks on housing facilities and civilian infrastructure of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

I urge international human rights organizations to pay particular attention to these facts of war crimes committed by the Ukrainian side against the civilian population of Donbass. The lack of response to violations of the norms and requirements of international humanitarian law leads to the formation of a dangerous laissez-faire attitude leading to more incidents of such violations. The result is an increase in the suffering of civilians and the number of victims of the conflict.

I urge the world community to give a proper legal assessment and use all available mechanisms of influence to force official Kiev to conduct an effective investigation of war crimes of the armed formations of Ukraine. The punishment of those responsible for the use of prohibited methods of warfare is a necessary condition for de-escalation of violence and improvement of the human rights situation.

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