War crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of human rights do not have a statute of limitations. This is enshrined in the international law: the UN Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity of 1968; the European Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to Crimes against Humanity and to War Crimes of 1974.
In 2014, military operations in the territory of the Donetsk region began under the slogan of establishing order. Kiev considered Donbass to be a Ukrainian territory, so it had to be guided in its actions by the Ukrainian legislation and the Constitution, which guarantees the right to life and prohibits the use of the army against its own population. Apparently, these guarantees, do not apply to Donbass residents. For four years now, the Ukrainian army has been shelling the cities where civilians live their peaceful life. The Ukrainian government and all authorities that carried out its orders must be held accountable for these war crimes against civilians in Donbass since the crimes committed by the political and military leadership of Ukraine in the course of the armed conflict on the territory of Donbass do not have a statute of limitations.
On March 15, 2018, an initiative group of citizens of Ukraine residing in the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics announced the creation of the People’s Tribunal for the investigation of war crimes of the Ukrainian authorities in Donbass, which is guided by the Criminal Code of Ukraine, its Constitution and the norms of international law. More than three years of painstaking work by experienced lawyers and public figures preceded the creation of this structure. They collected a huge amount of materials testifying to the crimes of the Poroshenko regime.
It should be noted that the Tribunal is a public structure and the main idea of it is that all the collected facts of crimes are considered in public court. During the inaugural meeting, the Statute of the Ukrainian People’s Tribunal (UPT) was adopted, judges were elected, 12 jurors were selected by drawing lots from among Donbass residents, and an attorney and a defender were appointed. The judges of the UPT, when considering the criminal case of Poroshenko and his supporters, studied about 1090 volumes of case file materials.
June 22 this year at the Theater Square in the centre of Lugansk, the UPT announced the verdict to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and his supporters who committed grave and especially grave crimes against the people of Ukraine in the form of life imprisonment with confiscation of property. This verdict was supported by more than 20 thousand Donbass residents, who were present in the square; they came with portraits of relatives and friends who had been killed by the Ukrainian military.
At the very beginning of July, other court hearings took place, where ordinary Donbass residents, who passed through torture and suffering as a result of the military conflict, gave evidence against illegal armed formations of Ukraine and its high officials. Charges were brought against the President of Ukraine, former General Prosecutors, the Governor of Donetsk region and other persons who covered up violations of basic human rights in the territory of Donbass.
The evidential basis collected by the People’s Tribunal in the Republics will form the basis for charging at the international trial against the leaders of the illegal Kiev government. Also, all materials will be transferred to the new leadership of Ukraine, and the present regime will never escape justice. Each state structure of both Republics contributes to the work of the UPT. Staff of the DPR Ombudsman Office document facts of violations of the rights and freedoms of citizens of the Republic every day and convey these data to the UPT.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Ombudsman Office is responsible for observance of the rights and freedoms. So, the one can file the complaint with the Ombudsman or make an appointment for a personal reception if his\her rights have been violated.
Citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in any suitable way. Now, the majority of applications are 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 the beginning of 2018, the Ombudsman received 3158 appeals. In the period of work between 30 June and 6 July 2018, 8 persons visited the Ombudsman in person, 33 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 10 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 9 persons received legal counselling. 6 written appeals were approved for consideration, 9 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 19 calls were received via hotlines, 7 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into six categories: violations in criminal law – 217 appeals, violations in civil law– 251 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 5 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 1508 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 401 appeals, other issues – 776 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 18.05.2018
Violations in criminal law
Issues of social and humanitarian affairs
Violations in civil law
issues connected with hostilities
Administrative and legal violations against citizens
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, benefits, disability, humanitarian aid – 358 appeals, temporary accommodation – 446 appeals, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 131 appeals, migration legislation issues – 265 appeals, labour legislation issues – 107 appeals, healthcare issues – 92 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 37 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 18 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 24 appeals, land use and tenure – 3 appeals, the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials – 27 appeals. (Diagram 2).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens on social and humanitarian issues, received by the DPR Ombudsman`s Office as of 06.07.2018
pension and social payments, benefits, disability, humanitarian aid
migration legislation issues
guardianship and family law issues
labour legislation issues
issues of education, culture and sport
issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services
activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations
land use and tenure
the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials
The majority of complaints 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 06.07.2018
- 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 Donbass citizens’ rights by Kiev authorities: the right to life, to security of the person, to inviolability of the home.
On 29 June, a DPR serviceman born in 1971 sustained gunshot wound to the left hand, Yasinovataya region.
On 30 June, a civilian man born in 1989 sustained blunt shrapnel wound to the left forearm with impaled objects, as a result of shelling in Gorlovka.
On 4 July, as a result of hostilities in Bezymennoye village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1985 sustained mine-blast trauma.
Within the period between 29 June and 5 July 2018, 3 persons sustained injuries in the territory of the DPR as a result of armed aggression of the Ukrainian side. Of them, there were 2 DPR servicemen, 1 civilian man.
Within the period between January 1 and July 5 2018, 190 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 112 DPR servicemen, 52 civilian men, 24 civilian women and 2 underage children.
Within the period between 29 June and 5 July 2018 – 3 DPR servicemen died in the territory of the DPR.
Within the period between January 1 and 5 July 2018, 89 persons died in the territory of the DPR, including 84 men and 5 women.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4656 persons died. Among them, there are 610 women and 4046 men, including 76 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.
- Register of the prisoners of war, missing soldiers
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic didn’t receive any appeals on arrest.
Based on the updated figures as of 06.07.2018, 277 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 82 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed. It was reported that 3 persons had been released.
– 195 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic didn’t receive any appeals on missing persons.
As of 6 July 2018, 471 persons are considered missing. There is a possibility that they are held in Ukrainian captivity.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
At the time of the armed conflict, the civilian population living in the zone of fighting and near the contact line is often affected. With the view to protect the human right to life and security of the person, and to provide assistance to victims as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine, social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres). 1138 IDPs now live in social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres), including 197 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5380 referrals for accommodation in social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres) have been issued, 137 of them – in 2018. All the social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres) are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staff of the Office monitor the social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres) on a 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 social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres).
During the period of work between 30 June and 6 July 2018, 10 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1158 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1158 – in social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres) throughout the territory of the DPR (including social housing objects of Ombudsman`s Office); 370 – in social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres) of the Ombudsman`s Office.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7415 persons, including 1823 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 61 social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres) have been established within the territory of DPR. 55 of them operate, 8 of them are held in reserve. The Ombudsman Office is in charge of 11 social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres).
Currently, 1491 individuals live in the objects, including 284 underage children, 4788 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1342 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
The Republican Employment Centre is the main institution responsible for providing jobs to the population.
According to their data, 28.0 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 6.07.2018. As of 6 July 2018, there were 26.5 thousand individuals who seek for a job, registered in the Republic Employment Centres. Among them: 19.6 thousand have been employed (11.5 of them – on permanent positions, 8.1 – temporarily).
Donetsk Centre of Vocational Education of The Republic Employment Centre organises 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. 115 persons participated in such seminars.