Achievements of the Prosecutor’s Office of Crimea in gathering evidence of war crimes in the occupied peninsula are based on cooperation with non-governmental human rights organizations, – General Prosecutor of Ukraine
On December 12, 2017, at the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, a briefing by Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko and Prosecutor of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Gunduz Mamedov was held. It was devoted to the submission of the first information communications to the International Criminal Court on the facts of the illegal appropriation of property in the temporarily occupied territory of the peninsula of Crimea and forced displacement and expulsion of Ukrainian citizens from the territory of the temporarily occupied peninsula of Crimea due to the decision courts of the occupation authorities.
MP Mustafa Dzhemilev, Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for the Affairs of Crimean Tatars, and Oleksandr Pavlichenko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, also took part in the event.
During the briefing, the Prosecutor General noted that the Prosecutor’s Office of Crimea, together with non-governmental human rights organizations, namely the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and the Regional Human Rights Center, have been actively involved in gathering evidence of crimes committed in the temporarily occupied territory of the Crimean Peninsula that are under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, in particular, war crimes and crimes against humanity. “All the achievements in this field are based on cooperation with non-governmental human rights organizations. Such a way of work determines the effectiveness, including at the international level,” said Yuriy Lutsenko.
He noted that from the beginning, the work of the Prosecutor’s Office of Crimea was focused on the International Criminal Court. Today the Office submitted two information reports to this body of justice. “In the course of the investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea received information on the seizure of more than 4 thousand Ukrainian enterprises on the peninsula. The general assessment of damages caused by the state amounts to more than one trillion hryvnias”, – said the Prosecutor General.
Gunduz Mamedov, Prosecutor of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, in turn, paid attention to the information report on forced displacement that was forwarded to the International Criminal Court together with human rights organizations. “Forced displacement, deportation, displacement of prisoners from Crimea into places of deprivation of liberty in the territory of the Russian Federation – these are war crimes. The urgency and seriousness of this crime is due to the fact that it entails a change in the demographic situation of the peninsula, a change in the composition of its population in favor of the citizens of the Russian Federation and the displacement, and possibly, the complete elimination of the Ukrainian population, as well as all Ukrainian, that is currently on the peninsula “, – said Gunduz Mamedov.
Also, the Prosecutor General of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea stressed that war crimes have no period of limitation, so perpetrators can be brought to justice at any time and they cannot be amnestied
Oleksandr Pavlichenko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, during a briefing, said that the organization began to collect evidence of human rights violations since the beginning of the conflict in Donbas and the annexation of Crimea. The first report was sent to the International Criminal Court in November 2016. It concerned the forced displacement from the territory of Crimea to the territory of the Russian Federation of persons who were convicted and sentences for whom entered into force. “Our organization has documented more than a thousand cases of forced resettlement [of people] from the territory where they lived in the mainland”, – said Oleksandr Pavlichenko.
He also highlighted the need for proper protection of witnesses and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to cooperate with Crimean law enforcement agencies.
Mustafa Dzhemilev, Commissioner of the President of Ukraine on Affairs of the Crimean Tatars, also spoke regarding the large-scale settlement of the citizens of the Russian Federation in Crimea. “There is no exact data as to how many Russians moved to Crimea since 2014. For over 3.5 years of occupation, the Crimean population increased by 10%. Mortality increased by 7.2%. Russia has brought to Crimea at least half a million of its citizens “, – said the leader of the Crimean Tatar people.
He agrees that all these violations qualify as war crimes. “Our task is, first of all, the task of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, to record all these crimes and then submit them to the International Court. With regard to the implementation of the extension of the International Court, in April this year there was an interim decision of the International Court, mainly on racial discrimination. It was recognized that the Russian Federation completely unlawfully banned the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people and recommended that its activities be restored in the near future, “said Mustafa Dzhemilev.