“Crimes against humanity do not need a war”

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Ukraine Crisis

“Crimes against humanity do not need a war”

The UN special Rapporteur Christof Heyns criticized that human rights are concealed violations in Eastern Ukraine. In a DW Interview, he takes both the separatists and the Kiev government in a duty.

Christof Heyns, UN special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions

Deutsche Welle: Mr Heyns, last autumn you have as the UN special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions visited the Ukraine. In mid-June, they submitted a report. You suspect that there is in the Donbass, secret prisons and torture chambers. What are your fears?

Christof Heyns: We have heard from representatives of the enlightenment on both sides. In General, accuses each other of secret prisons set up. However, we were not able to investigate such statements, and facts to confirm.

Complaints, according to employees of the Ukrainian security service, the SBU, Suspects failure to act. As representatives of the Ukrainian government is responding to you on such allegations?

You deny the. They say to have never of such cases. I am very concerned that the authorities deny these facts. As it seems, you don’t want to talk about them.

What are the hardest cases of people, in your view, are violations of the law in the Ukraine?

I think you can count the Maidan in 2014, as in February, about a hundred people in the protests were killed. Since then there has been very little progress in the investigation. The main suspect escaped. Evidence is lost.

It is similar to the incident in Odessa in may 2014. It comes to the so-called case of the “house of unions”. Molotov Cocktails or else caused a fire in which over 40 people died. Still no one has been punished.

Add to this that both sides of the conflict – separatists and government troops in the East of Ukraine, shelled, towns, and villages meet, without distinguishing between civilians and combatants. You have to start with the prosecution of perpetrators, and violate human rights. I understand how difficult this is under the conditions of armed conflict. However, there are allegations that are not investigated properly. My report is based on the requirement for thorough investigations.

What is the difference between the situation of human rights on both sides of the separation line in the Donbass?

We need to talk about three areas: the territory of the country, which is not affected by the conflict; the part of the separatists control in Eastern Ukraine that is controlled by the government; and the part in the East of Ukraine, the. A total of were killed in the conflict zone, more than 9000 people. The human rights, it is much worse than in the Rest of the country. We wanted to speak with the leaders of the areas to the East of the line of Contact. We had planned to be with you, even talks, but they appeared not simply to the Meeting. We have seen that the two breakaway republics have not established a functioning judicial system. To the West of the line of Contact there are appropriate structures, but may not be used.

A Ukrainian soldier at the separation line in the Donbass

What is the responsibility of the self-proclaimed “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk for human rights violations?

Potentially, rebel groups of war crimes and crimes against humanity can commit. If there is enough evidence, you can be followed.

Although there is no official Declaration of war, and no war is right?

At least a non-international armed conflict. I think all sides understand that there is an armed confrontation. Crimes against humanity do not need a war, they can also happen outside of combat. War crimes happen in war. But there is an armed conflict is waged not of an international character.

Your report calls for the resolution and a possible prosecution of self-organised armed groups…

Some of them are merged into the structure of the Ukrainian armed forces and have become part of the system. However, do not need to address the government with the groups that control them. You need to convince you, join the army or disarm.

During their trip to Ukraine, you were unable to visit the Crimea. Instead, they met with the Russian Consul in Odessa. About what you talked about?

I said that the lack of transparency and responsibility for what is happening there is a big Problem. Not even the Mission of the UN high Commissioner for human rights in Ukraine has access to it. I asked about the possibility of a visit, but I was told that this could only be Moscow organized. But this way would legitimize the annexation of the Crimea. Therefore, one can say at present precisely how the human rights are violated on the Peninsula.

The interview was conducted by Stas Sokolov