Human Rights in the ATO Area: Does the State Guarantee the Right to Life?

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Unions records a range of fundamental breaches of human rights preconditioned by the military conflict in the east of Ukraine. The most material ones include the fact that Ukraine ignores crimes against mankind and war laws.

Ukrainian law enforcement bodies respond to offences very inactively, drag out the process of collecting and recording evidence necessary to prove crimes against mankind and military crimes. It casts doubt on the state’s ability to bring these crimes to the proceedings in the International Criminal Court.

In July one year will have passed from the date of execution of Oleksii Kudriavtsev, the combatant of the special forces battalion “Artemivsk”, militia common soldier; however, the criminal case with regard to his wilful homicide has not been opened yet.

On July 14, 2014 common soldier Kudriavtsev was captured in the vicinity of the Town of Horlivka in the Region of Donetsk by the terrorists headed by the military intelligence lieutenant colonel, Biezlier. First the brigands tortured the Ukrainian volunteer, and then shot him as an unwelcome witness after they had beaten a confession of depredation out of him.

The most disgusting part of this story is that Oleksii Kudriavtsev’s father still cannot make the state officially acknowledge the fact of his son’s death as law enforcement bodies refuse to open the criminal case on wilful homicide and qualify the offence as illegal imprisonment.

The Kyiv Public Office of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Right Union (UHHRU) has been thoroughly supporting the case of Oleksii Kudriavtsev, and has collected sufficient evidence proving the fact of shooting the prisoner of war. “There is sufficient evidence to qualify the crime as wilful homicide. There is compelling testimony of indirect witnesses,” comments the barrister, head of the Kyiv Public Office of the UHHRU, Oleg Levitskyi. “We are doing our best, providing qualified legal assistance, yet no result has been achieved. Father of the deceased, Mykola Kudriavtsev is in despair, and is ready to put a tent at Maidan as a symbol of protest and stay there until the end. He demands nothing special from the government. He just asks them to acknowledge that his son was killed because he had volunteered to protect the state from the evil enemy.”

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Right Union has prepared and sent an open statement to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine with regard to the case of common soldier Kudriavtsev. However, no response has been received within the terms established by the law. According to the European Convention on Human Rights, Ukraine shall conduct an efficient investigation into each fact of violent homicide. In fact, law enforcement bodies seem to be avoiding extra work:

“Experience of legal offices of the UHHRU demonstrates that the largest amount of issues citizens apply with is associated with the fact the militia and prosecutor’s office ignore their complaints. In fact, it means direct lenience to crime as criminal cases are not opened even when life of Ukrainian military men is subject to criminal assault. The principal function of the state is to provide for the right to life for people at its territory. However, the case of refusal to investigate murder of Oleksii Kudriavtsev demonstrates that the fundamental human right to life is not defended in our country,” states Oleh Levistskyi, the barrister.

Lawyers of the public office of the UHHRU claim that they will not abandon the Kudriavtsevs to the whims of fate and are eager to keep demanding the state to finally acknowledge the fact of violent death of its soldier.

The chain of public offices of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Right Union is financially supported by the Swiss International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). 

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