Summary of the speech given by DPR Ombudsman Daria Morozova at the joint press conference with participation of Chief of the Investigation Department of the DPR General Prosecutor Office Roman Belous, devoted to investigation of unlawful methods of inquiry by staff of Ukrainian law enforcement authorities and special services (video)

Briefings and press conferences Detention News

At the conference, issues of unlawful methods of inquiry used by the Ukrainian side against DPR supporters, held in penitentiary institutions and other detention facilities in Ukraine, were discussed.

Summary of speech given by DPR Ombudsman Daria Morozova:

– Detention of peaceful citizens in the territory of Ukraine is a common practice, which demonstrates indiscriminate exactions by staff of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, said DPR Ombudsman. A betrayal, a post in social networks, disapproval of actions of Ukrainian government as well as travel to the territory temporary controlled by Ukrainian government may lead to detention. There are more and more cases of pensioners being detained as they cross the contact line in order to receive social payments or pension.

– In August 2017, SSU staff illegally detained three-time taekwondo champion in Ukraine Daria Mastikasheva and concealed her whereabouts from her relatives and friends. She went to the territory of Ukraine to visit her son and her mother. On August 15 she was detained, and the application for the initiation of a criminal proceeding against Daria Mastikasheva was written on August 16, one day after she was kidnapped, her lawyer revealed. Soon after that, on August 17, at the special briefing for journalists the SSU Head Vasily Hrytsak told that Security Service of Ukraine arrested Daria Mastikasheva on suspicion of treason (Part 1, Art. 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Part 1, Art. 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). He added that she recruited former participants of the so-called “anti-terrorist operation” in Donbass in order to organize terrorist attacks in Moscow and other cities of Russia, and to blame the Ukrainian government in terrorism.

– On November 1, 2017, I received a request from a resident of Donetsk on the fact of detention of her daughter, Julia Prosolova, by the SSU. The girl disappeared on October 19, as she had crossed the checkpoint “Yelenovka” on her way to Mariupol to visit her friend. At his briefing, SSU Chairman Vasily Hrytsak reported that Julia was detained in Odessa, and she was accused of blowing up the car of one of the staff of the Ukrainian special services. Also, Head of Department provided a video showing the girl allegedly confessing to committing the crime. Julia’s parents left for Mariupol, where they filed a complaint of disappearance of their daughter with the law enforcement agencies and the SSU.

– Staff of the Security Service of Ukraine often detain civilians illegally, without the permission of the investigating judge. At the same time, detainees are denied their right to contact relatives, so they have no information about the arrest, and whereabouts of a missing person remain unknown. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights continues to document cases of persons unlawfully or arbitrarily deprived of liberty or subjected to enforced disappearance or abduction.

– Unfortunately, contrary to the norms of the International Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Ukrainian security forces continue to mock the captive supporters of the Republic. The Human Rights Ombudsman Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic often receives information about the use of illegal methods of inquiry. We write in to international human rights organizations regarding the use of torture against detainees.

– On December 27, 2017, as a result of a prisoner exchange 160 persons returned to the Republic. They are witnesses of human rights violations and of breaches of international humanitarian law.

For example, Leonid Belikov was taken prisoner by the Lvov-1 battalion and spent several years in remand prison in Mariupol. As a result of torture, the guy had a few fractures of the jaw, his teeth and ribs were broken, internal organs were injured. Ruslan Andrievsky sustained a ruptured spleen and ribs fracture as a result of a severe beating in a remand prison. Another man, a citizen of Druzhkovka, Dmitry Tayursky, was also subjected to severe beating for his political opinion in Ternopil prison. First, he was detained in the Kharkiv region in 2014 for separatism, then the man was released, but soon he was charged with committing a crime again, and he was sent to a correctional facility in Western Ukraine. The men were kept in the same cell with participants of the so-called “ATO” and members of volunteer battalions. Dmitry was often beaten for political reasons. Once, he even was on the verge of life and death, the man had to get his spleen cut out.

– Staff of law enforcement agencies and special services of Ukraine grossly violate the State’s international human rights obligations and the Constitution of Ukraine, Art. 28, which prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. However, there are no definitions to these terms in the Ukrainian legislation. It is also worth recalling that Ukraine is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the first Optional Protocol to it. Therefore, the UN Convention Against Torture and, according to Article 9 of the Constitution, existing international treaties are part of national legislation. This regulation is also contained in the Law “On International Treaties of Ukraine”, Article 17 of which recognizes the primacy of international law over domestic law if a conflict arises between them. Thus, in Ukraine, the definition of torture given in Article 1 of the Convention against Torture should apply. It should be noted that international treaties of Ukraine related to human rights, including the Convention against Torture, have not been issued by official sources. Consequently, Article 9 of the Constitution is only declarative by nature. This is one of the reasons why Ukraine has no practice of application of international treaties in the area of human rights.

– Representatives of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights express their concern over impunity for violations and infringement of human rights in Donbass. None of the members of security agencies of Ukraine, who committed crimes, were brought to justice. This is due to the reluctance to investigate human violations. Nobody wants to take responsibility for any death of civilians due to the shelling. The Reports clearly state that the Government of Ukraine is responsible for investigating allegations of serious violations of human rights, including torture, ill-treatment and arbitrary detention.

– People released from Ukrainian captivity are eyewitnesses of human rights violations in Ukraine. Their testimonies will constitute a basis for criminal case files that will be submitted to the European Court of Human Rights. I would like to remind you that crimes against humanity are not subject to the statute of limitations, everyone who has broken the law will be brought to justice and receive the punishment they deserve. (Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, 26 November, 1968).