In February 2020, new human rights violations were detected in the occupied Luhansk and Donetsk regions controlled by the occupation administration of the Russian Federation. These include illegal detentions and restrictions on the freedom of movement of civilians, creation of a parallel legal system, the involvement of minors in propaganda, violations of property rights. We have to note that all of these human rights violations have unfortunately become the “norm” for the residents of the so-called “people’s republics”.
Illegal arrests, detentions, and restrictions on freedom of movement
A citizen of Luhansk, whose name is not mentioned in the report, was sentenced by the so-called “LPR Supreme Court” to 12 years in prison for committing “treason”. According to the accusation “from March 2018 to May 2019, on the instructions of foreign intelligence, the man was collecting and transmitting information revealing the location of the military and civilian infrastructure of the Republic, as well as its organization, forces, means and methods of ensuring the safety of objects under the state protection, including ensuring the security of the head of the LPR, Leonid Pasechnik.” The message appeared on the “Massmedia LPR” website on February 6, 2020.
Grigorov Anton worked as the head of student social services at Taras Shevchenko National University of Lugansk. Clients of Anton Grigorov were students of privileged categories, including the “LPR servicemen”. According to the report Anton Grigorov allegedly “on the instructions of the Ukrainian intelligence was engaged in collecting information constituting a state secret”, as well as “transmitting collected data related to LPR military personnel, as well as other information regarding the political and socio-economic plan”.
Viktor Filipchenko was detained by employees of the so-called “MGB LPR” on suspicion of “carrying out intelligence activities in favor of foreign intelligence services”. Viktor is accused of working on behalf of his acquaintance Igor Gusev, who allegedly is a member of the Right Sector and “is an employee of a foreign company which is acting in the interests of the special services.” The name of the foreign company and special services is not specified. As an “evidence”, photos of a trip to the mountains were published, on which the man holds the flags of the Crimean Tatar and Ukraine, and is also dressed in an embroidered shirt (Vyshyvanka).
Podvezko Pavel Vitalyevich, a resident of Makeyevka, born in 1988, was arrested by the so-called “MGB DPR” “on suspicion of espionage in favor of the Ukrainian special services”. A message about the detention of the man appeared on the website of the so-called “MGB DPR” on February 11, 2020. The report further indicates that Pavel Podvezko was detained in May 2018. And on February 3, 2020, the “Supreme Court of the DPR” sentenced the man under article 321 for “espionage” for 14 years with serving the sentence in a maximum-security penal colony. This was reported by the website of the so-called “General Prosecutor’s Office of the DPR”, to Podvezko it was referred under the initials V.P. The so-called “MGB DPR” discovered a “Twitter account” registered in September 2014, which supposedly belongs to Pavel Podvezko. On the account page, “extremist information was posted.”
A video clip appeared on the website of the so-called “Ministry of Internal Affairs of the DPR” depicting the arrest of Sergei Goncharov, the rector of the Donbass Law Academy Sergei. We reported about the arrest of Sergei Goncharov in the January review of human rights violations. To remind: the man is accused of organizing contract killings of the leaders of the “Ministry of Education of the DPR”.
Parfenyuk Dmitry Alexandrovich, born in 1989, was detained by the so-called “MGB DPR” “on suspicion of espionage in favor of the Ukrainian special services”. The report also says that Dmitry Parfenyuk transported goods and parcels to the territory of the temporarily occupied Donetsk region. Allegedly in August 2017, Dmitry Parfenyuk “was compromise-based recruited by SBU employees when crossing the Marinka checkpoint.”
The report emphasizes that Dmitry bought and handed over to the SBU employees SIM cards of the “Fenix” mobile operator. SBU employees used SIM cards “in order to undermine the security of the DPR”.
The so-called “DPR court” sentenced a Donetsk resident “A” to five years in prison with a sentence in a penal colony. The sentenced worked in transportation and was charged of working for the Ukrainian Security Service.
Creation of a parallel legal system, bar, notaries, and courts
In the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the Russia-backed occupation administrations and the media under their control continue to inform local residents and the world about the activities of their “state bodies.” We note that these activities have no legal effect and are aimed only at demonstrating the so-called “statehood” in the “republics.”
- During the plenary session on February 20, 2020, “the MPs” of the so-called “People’s Council of the LPR” considered in the first and second readings and adopted the law “On Amendments to the Law of the Luhansk People’s Republic On Military Duty and Military Service”.
The text of the law has been revised: the concept of “first entering military service” is replaced by the concept of “serving on conscription or first entering military service under a contract.”
- “Deputy” Oleg Popov commented on the changes as follows: “Such a concept as ´enlisted in the military´ applies only to military personnel who are in military service based on a contract.” He added that another goal of the adoption of the law is “unification of the laws of the LPR with the legislation of the Russian Federation.”
On the same day, “deputies” of the so-called “People’s Council of the LPR” during the plenary session considered in the first and second readings and adopted the law “On Amendments to Article 54 of the Criminal Code of the Luhansk People’s Republic and the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Luhansk People’s Republic”.
Compulsory membership in “social” organizations and participation in “patriotic” and “social” actions of the “LPR” and “DPR”. Involvement of children in propaganda.
In the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, controlled by the occupation administration of the Russian Federation, anti-Ukrainian propaganda is being conducted under the cover of the “military-patriotic upbringing”, among children, adolescents and young people, with their involvement as members of “social” organizations.
Employees of state-financed enterprises with the so-called “external administration” have no opportunity to refuse to participate in the activities of “social” organizations, as they risk being subjected to serious pressure and persecution. These actions by the representatives of the occupation administrations are qualified as violations of “freedom of association.”
- In Lugansk, Alchevsk, Bryanka, Golubovka (Kirovsk), Sorokino (Krasnodon), Khrustalny (Krasnyi Luch), Pervomaisk, Rovenky, Kadievka (Stakhanov), Antratsitovsky, Lutuginsky, Perevalsky and Slavyanoserbsky districts celebrations took place on the occasion of the Defender of the Fatherland Day.
The events were attended by senior citizens, students, schoolchildren, as well as preschoolers. Some of the children were dressed in military uniforms of the Red Army from 1941-1945.
Pupils, students, employees of budget departments, and pensioners participated in the rallies.
Violation of property rights
In February 2020, the process of so-called “nationalization” of enterprises that previously operated under Ukrainian jurisdiction or belonged to Ukrainian citizens residing since the beginning of the conflict in the Ukrainian-controlled territories continued in Luhansk and Donetsk regions under the control of the occupation administration of the Russian Federation. In our opinion, the following facts should be qualified as violations of property rights. It should be noted that these violations are systematic and widespread in the occupied regions of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.
- The so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic State Property Fund” reported in February 2020 of four vacant real estate objects, which are to be put out on lease.
- In February 2020, the so-called “state committee of taxes and duties” of the so-called “LPR” published 24 announcements concerning the discovery of unclaimed property objects.
Among the property declared vacant are:
- Property of legal entities: administrative building with a basement and an attic, non-residential buildings, a garage with an attic, warehouses, gantry cranes, water wells, a lavatory, metal stairs, a fence and tiling made of reinforced concrete slabs; railway equipment: metal railway tanks, open wagons, crank presses; trucks, ATMs, cars, a forklift, banking equipment, office furniture, cigarettes, a liquid with the smell of alcohol;
- Property of individuals: cartons of cigarettes, cigarettes, cars, dark green rubber inflatable boat, ethyl alcohol.
It should be noted that claims from owners are accepted within 1 to 60 days from the date of publication of the announcement. At the end of this period, the property is transferred to the control of “LPR”.
In order to justify the presence of the occupying forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (ORLDO), the occupation administrations of the so-called “LPR” and “DPR” continue to push people who work at state enterprises to obtain Russian passports. And not only to receive the passports, but also to give comments to the media for the purpose of propaganda.
- “Such deliberate coercive actions of illegal administrations controlled by the Russian Federation are a gross violation of the international law, in particular of the 1949 Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and Art. 75 of the 1977 Additional Protocol.”
- In February 2020, Sverdlovanthracite miners received Russian passports. The mechanism for obtaining a Russian passport is the following: first, the so-called “LPR passports” are issued, and then the person can apply for a Russian passport.
In social networks, there were some remarks that employees of state enterprises are threatened with dismissal or deprivation of wages if they do not receive a “LPR passport”, and afterwards a Russian passport.
A review of human rights violations in the temporarily occupied parts of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions is carried out with the aim of preserving democratic rights and freedoms on the territory of Ukraine.
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