International humanitarian law is a set of legal principles and norms aimed at regulating international cooperation in the fields of science, culture, education, information sharing, people-to-people contacts, and especially to ensure civil, political, economic, social and cultural human rights. This is a set of principles and norms designed to protect the person, their rights and property during armed conflicts.
There are special principles and norms of the international law concerning the means and methods of warfare:
- It is prohibited to use means (weapons, shells, substances) and methods of warfare that are intended to cause excessive damage or unnecessary suffering or to make the death of a person inevitable.
- The use of methods or means of warfare that are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment is prohibited.
- The Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population or other protected persons, on the one hand, and combatants on the other, and between civilian or other objects of protection and military facilities.
- The principle of protection of war victims, including special protection for women and children as the most vulnerable part of the population.
- The principle of responsibility of states and individuals for violating the laws and customs of war relating to the means and methods of warfare.
In order to prevent unnecessary suffering and unjustified civilian casualties and cause extensive, long-term and serious damage to the natural environment associated with hostilities, prohibitions and restrictions are also imposed on the belligerents in the choice of methods (means) of warfare.
Means of warfare are weapons and other military equipment used by the armed forces of the belligerent parties to destroy the enemy’s personnel and weapons, suppress its forces and the ability to resist.
Methods of warfare are the order, all manner of the use of the means of warfare for specific purposes. The means and methods of warfare are divided into prohibited and unprohibited.
According to Art. 35 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions 1949, the right of the Parties to the conflict to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited. It is prohibited to employ weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering.
Article 25 of the IV Hague Convention of 1907 prohibits to attack or bombard unprotected cities, villages, dwellings or buildings by any means whatsoever. However, the Ukrainian side, contrary to all norms of international humanitarian law, carried out an airstrike against civilian population three years ago, causing deaths and injuries of innocent people. There were no military targets nearby, only houses and civil infrastructure objects.
On July 15, 2014, at 6:30 am, the SU-25 attack aircraft of the Ukrainian Armed Forces struck a blow at the centre of the peaceful city of Snezhnoye, firing at least six rockets. The air raid destroyed the entrance hall of a residential five-storey building in Lenin Street, another rocket hit the building of the Tax Inspection, the bakery and nearby buildings were also damaged. Eleven civilians were killed, about a dozen were injured, including one child.
The right to life and security of a person is an inalienable human right. Article 3 of the Constitution of the Donetsk People’s Republic proclaims the supreme value of a person and his/her rights. To recognize, observe and protect rights and freedoms of human and citizen is the responsibility of the Donetsk People’s Republic, its state bodies and officials. The post of the Human Rights Ombudsman was established in the Donetsk People’s Republic to ensure the protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms by the state, to prevent any form of discrimination regarding respect of their rights and freedoms.
Citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in any suitable way. Now, the majority of applications is still verbal and submitted through personal reception either with the Ombudsman or the heads of the Office, addressing the Public Complaints and Appeals Department, via hotlines and via web-reception on the Website of the Ombudsman. There is a possibility to file a written complaint that may be submitted either in person or via e-mail. Since 2017 the Ombudsman received 3453 appeals. In the period of work between 15 and 21 July 2017, 12 persons have visited the Ombudsman in person, 16 of the claims were accepted by the Appeals department 41 calls were made via hotlines, 28 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 205 appeals, violations in civil law– 355 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 2 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 2891 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 21.07.2017
Violations in criminal law
Violations in civil law
Administrative and legal violations against citizens
Issues of social and humanitarian affairs
Among all incoming correspondence to the Ombudsman of DPR, the one which deals with the issues of exercise of social rights of citizens and violations of these rights is the most frequent. These issues are: pension and social payments – 415 appeals, temporary accommodation – 357 appeals, the order of a complaint submission and paperwork in case of property destruction – 68 appeals, humanitarian assistance – 156 appeals, employment – 134 appeals, paperwork on travelling documents – 8 appeals, search of the missing – 120 appeals, loss of IDs – 278 appeals, housing issues – 161 appeals, temporary residence permit – 179 appeals, other social and humanitarian issues – 1015 appeals (diagram 2).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens on social and humanitarian isses, received by the DPR Ombudsman`s Office as of 21.07.2017
Pension and social payments
Search of the missing soldiers
Search of the missing civilians
Temporary residence permit
Paperwork in case of property destruction
Paperwork on travelling documents
Loss of IDs
Other social and humanitarian issues
The majority of complains are traditionally received from Donetsk, by territory (Diagram 3).
The number of appeals (complains, applications) from citizens, received by the DPR Ombudsman`s Office as of 21.07.2017
- Statistics and analysis of destroyed infrastructure objects
Targeted shelling by Ukrainian forces causes destruction of private property and infrastructure – this is the reality of the front-line regions of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
As of 2 July 2017 more than 11390 infrastructure objects were partly destroyed (damaged) as a result of hostilities.
More than 6828 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 268 units in Debaltsevo, 527 units in Gorlovka, 91 units in Dokuchayevsk, 309 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 75 units in Kirovskoye, 1113 units in Makeyevka, 55 units in Snyezhnoye, 122 units in Torez, 750 units in Khartsysk, 75 units in Shakhtyorsk, 581 units in Yasinovataya, 278 units in Amvrosyevka region, 3 units in Volnovakha region, 24 units in Maryinka region, 17 units in Novoazovsk region, 57 units in Starobeshevo region, 93 units in Telmanovo region, 33 units in Shakhtyorsk region.
Destroyed objects by branches:
– 6241 houses;
– 769 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 176 heating supply facilities;
– 49 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 14 wastewater and sewerage facilities;
– 102 healthcare facilities;
– 513 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 59 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 62 higher educational institutions;
– 26 physical and sport education institutions;
– 54 cultural institutions;
– 240 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 60 industrial objects;
– 89 trade objects;
– 267 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of 6 June 2017 there are 2813 objects of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 530 – rebuilt and 2283 – are to be rebuilt.
- Estimates of mortality, wounds to civilians and soldiers as a result of hostilities in the territory of the Donetsk People`s Republic.
Almost every day the DPR Ombudsman’s Office records cases of violations of rights of Donbass citizens by Kiev authorities: right to life, to security of the person, to the inviolability of the home.
On 14 June a DPR serviceman born in 1963 sustained blunt gunshot wound of the right thigh as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces near Yasinovataya. Another DPR serviceman was wounded in Petrovskiy district of Donetsk.
As a result of hostilities in Bezymennoye village, Novoazovsk region, DPR servicemen born in 1965, 1975 and 1984 sustained mine-blast traumas and shrapnel wounds.
On 17 July as a result of shelling against Staromikhailovka village a civilian man born in 1956 sustained shrapnel fracture of the right side of parietal bone; a civilian man born in 1964 sustained shrapnel wound of the left knee joint, left shoulder and left side of anterior abdominal wall.
As a result of shelling in Yasinovataya, a DPR serviceman born in 1986 sustained a mine-blast trauma and shrapnel wound of the right hand.
A civilian man born in 1955 found a metal object that exploded in his hands. This happened near Meat Factory, Donetsk. The man sustained mine-blast trauma of the right hand, abrasions of the anterior abdominal wall and face.
As a result of hostilities in Staromikhailovka village, DPR servicemen born in 1973 and 1972 sustained shrapnel wounds.
On 19 July as a result of shelling in Petrovskiy district of Donetsk, a civilian man born in 1938 sustained penetrating wound of the chest, open shrapnel wounds of upper and lower limbs; a civilian man of 40 years old sustained shrapnel wound of the chest; a man born in 1988 sustained a shrapnel wound of the right side of the chest, shrapnel wound of the right shin and soft tissue of both thighs. A civilian woman born in 1954 was thrown by a burst wave. She sustained degloving wound of the right shin.
On 20 July in Kashtanovoye village, Yasinovataya region, a civilian woman born in 1947 sustained a shrapnel wound of the leg. As a result of hostilities near Debaltsevo, DPR serviceman born in 1990 sustained severe concussion.
As a result of hostilities in Sakhanka village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1990 sustained shrapnel wound of both shins.
As a result of hostilities in Avdeyevka industrial zone a DPR serviceman born in 1993 sustained mine-blast concomitant trauma, blunt shrapnel wound of the chest and anterior abdominal wall, blunt shrapnel wound of the right thigh with foreign body.
In the early morning of 21 July a DPR serviceman born in 1992 sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound of the right ankle joint.
Within the period between 14 and 21 July 2017, 20 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR as a result of constant shelling from Ukraine. Among them, there were 13 DPR servicemen, 2 civilian women and 5 civilian men.
Within the period between 1 January and 20 July 2017 441 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 261 DPR servicemen and 180 civilians, including 9 children under 18.
Within the period between 14 and 20 July 2017, 4 persons died. Among them there were 3 DPR servicemen and 1 civilian woman. She passed away on 17 July as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces against Staromikhailovka village.
Within the period between 1 January and 20 July 2017, 182 persons, including 159 servicemen and 23 civilians died in the Donetsk People’s Republic, including an underage child.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4471 persons died. Among them, there were 605 women and 3866 men, including 75 children under eighteen.
Officially confirmed information on individuals, who have been wounded since the beginning of the conflict continues to be reported to the Ombudsman’s Office in DPR. The information is being processed at the moment and it will be included into general statistics of the injured individuals.
- Register of the prisoners of war and missing soldiers
This week, another meeting in the Minsk format was held. Despite the absence of plenipotentiary representatives of Ukraine in the humanitarian subgroup, the meeting was held in a usual way. Negotiations were constructive. The lists of the detainees were discussed. The issue of amnesty envisaged by the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was also raised. Thus, Paragraph 5 of the Package of Measures prescribes granting pardon and amnesty by enacting a law prohibiting the prosecution and punishment of persons relevant to the events that took place in Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts.
It was also agreed to hold a meeting of the humanitarian subgroup via Skype. The videoconference is scheduled for July 31. The participants will discuss the exchange of POWs.
This week the DPR Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office received one appeal on capture. On June 2017, a civilian woman, who has an underage son, was detained in Konstantinovka.
This week, no appeals on missing persons were received by the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Based on the updated figures as of 21.07.2017, 687 persons are kept by the Ukrainian side including:
– 419 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed. As reported to the Ombudsman’s Office, 7 persons were excluded from the list. They received suspended sentences and were released;
– 262 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
As a result of work it was established that one detainee has been released. Now he is staying in the DPR. Another man is deemed to be dead. One person was included in the list of missing persons, because contact details are incomplete to determine if this person is currently staying in the territory of Ukraine and no one applied with the concern over his fate.
– 4 persons for whom the requests were made to the Ukrainian side for the first time.
As of 21 July 2017, 509 persons are considered missing.
The Ombudsman`s Office continues to clarify information about the individuals, who were detained by the Ukrainian side, the statistics may change.
The DPR Ombudsman`s Office will no longer publicly categorize the detainees by “serviceman”, “arrested for political reasons”, “civilian irrelevant to the conflict” due to safety considerations.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
When Donbass conflict started, residents of the front-line regions had to leave their homes. They hoped that they would return very soon. Nobody could imagine that the unrest in Kiev could lead to a brutal and merciless war in our peaceful land.
It’s been 3 years since the conflict started. Many forcibly displaced persons came back home. They live and work there despite everything. And there are those who decided to pass through these events on the territory of Ukraine. They had to start a new life.
Displaced persons face many challenges, so human rights organizations are often concerned about the observance of their rights. For monitoring purposes, surveys and studies on the living conditions of IDPs are constantly conducted. They cover a wide range of problems of displaced persons – starting from access to information to legal protection and treatment by residents of host communities.
Most specialists who study the situation of IDPs in Ukraine come to the following conclusions:
– A significant part of the IDPs feel themselves abandoned by the Ukrainian state;
– there is a lack of clarity on the mechanisms for assistance and protection of the rights of internally displaced persons in the state legislation;
– there is a need to counter the negative perception of IDPs by the population of the country;
– about a quarter of IDPs from Donbass have suffered from discrimination of their rights, humiliation of their dignity due to the their move to the territory of Ukraine in such circumstances.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic, forcibly displaced persons are a special category of citizens who are paid special attention; opportunities are constantly being created to improve their living conditions.
1261 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 247 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5161 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 267 of them – in 2017. All the TACs are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staffs of the Office monitor the TACs on the weekly basis, with the view to respond promptly to the citizens’ needs. The Ombudsman makes every effort to improve social and living conditions for people who live in the TACs.
During the period of work between 15 and 21 July 2017, 24 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, 9 of them were accommodated in the TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office in Donetsk.
There are currently 1418 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1362 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 448 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office; 56 – in housing fund of the DPR.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7963 persons, including 2068 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 68 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 57 of them operate today, 11 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2878 individuals live in the centres, including 566 underage children, 5058 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1502 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
The “Winter-Prom” state enterprise, which produces ice cream, resumed its work on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic. After some reorganization processes, the company is planning to launch the production of cakes, pelmeni and other products. It is worth noting that the capacity of “Winter-Prom” is 25 tons of different types of ice cream a day.
Every new enterprise is important for the Republic because this means returning of former employees to their jobs and employment for new specialists. The resumption of work of “Winter-Prom” will make its part for the economic rise and new tax revenues to the budget of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
“It is critically important that such enterprises start working again. The production is recovering, and the implementation plan for selling products to the trade networks of cities and districts of the Republic is developed,” — said Acting Minister of the Economic Development of the Donetsk People’s Republic Victor Romaniuk.
The Republic Employment Center is the main state organ responsible for providing jobs to citizens. According to their data, 20,3 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 21.07.2017. As of 21 July 2017, there were 32,8 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centers. Among them: 27,4 thousand have been employed (12,7 of them – on permanent positions, 14,7 – temporarily).
Donetsk Centre of Vocational Education of The Republic Employment Centre organizes regular free public workshops to train practical skills, such as work with personal computers; technique and mechanization of trade accounts (work with cash register machines); the program “1C: Accounting 8.2.”; fundamentals of entrepreneurship; processing and decoration of textile and clothing products etc. Since the beginning of 2017, 252 persons participated in those workshops.