In November 2019, 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, violations of property rights, involvement of minors in propaganda. 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.»
1. Illegal arrests, detentions and restrictions on freedom of movement
On 13 November 2019, the so-called LPR Supreme Court sentenced a resident of Luhansk, M.Y. Korotkih, to 12 years of imprisonment «for a crime under the Article 335 of the LPR Criminal Code. As part of the criminal case initiated by the investigation department of the so-called Ministry of State Security of the LPR, «it was established that a 39-year-old citizen of Luhansk People’s Republic committed treason in the form of espionage and assistance to a foreign state in its activities against the security of the Republic.»
Donetsk resident F. was sentenced to 5.3 years of imprisonment for his participation in a terrorist group. The report also says that «from November 2016 to June 2017, the resident of Donetsk F. carried out tasks assigned to him by a terrorist group aimed at causing harm to the public security of the Donetsk People’s Republic.» Further, the report specifies what actions were taken by citizen F. to perform the «tasks»: «the defendant took advantage of his involvement in a terrorist group with the purpose of crossing the contact line unhindered from Ukraine to the DPR, through the crossing-point of «Maryinka», to receive social benefits, to operate as a private passenger carrier, to deliver parcels from the territory of Ukraine. This news appeared on the website of the so-called «DPR Prosecutor General’s Office» on 13 November 2019.
S.Y. Mazurov was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment for his participation in a terrorist group and cooperation with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). S.Y. Mazurov worked as a driver in a carrier company and, according to the so-called «DPR Prosecutor-General’s Office», he «received a package with food from SBU employees, in which were hidden weapons, in the autumn of 2016. He brought this package to the DPR territory for the further use of the weapons by another member of the terrorist group.» The report was published on the website of the so-called «DPR Prosecutor General’s Office» on 14 November 2019.
I. F. Nazarenko was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment for «espionage in favor of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).» The man is accused of having taken, from May to June 2017, photographs of documents proving the fact of military service and service in the ranks of the so-called «police» of the «DPR» and of sending the photos to the SBU.
Russian mercenaries handed over a body without organs to the Ukrainian side and said that it was supposedly the serviceman Roman Bespalyi, who was captured on 22 May 2019 along with seven other solders from the 53d brigade. In our October overview, we mentioned a blogger tweeting about the suicide of a serviceman from the 53d brigade.
Roman Bespalyi’s wife, Angela, and his father, came to Dnipro to take part in the identification procedure. However, neither his wife nor his father recognized Roman. «It is not him. I don’t know whose soldiers it is, but I express my condolences to his relatives,» the woman said. This was reported by TSN in its story on 17 November 2019.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) stated in their report of 19 November 2019 that on 17 November 2019, at 08:08, an ambulance with Russian Federation license plates entered the crossing point of Gukovo, which is not under Ukraine’s control, from the side of the Russian Federation and parked near the main building. The driver and the paramedic took out the stretcher and entered the building. At 8:28 a.m., the medical team loaded the stretcher with a body into the ambulance and drove back to the Russian Federation.
The second similar case was recorded by the mission on 18 November 2019 at 11:13 a.m. at the Donetsk crossing point, which is not controlled by Ukraine. An ambulance with three medical workers on board arrived to the crossing point from Russian Federation. At 11:24 a.m., the ambulance returned to the Russian Federation with one patient on board.
A resident of Kharkiv, whose name is not provided, was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment by the so-called LPR Supreme Court on charges of «espionage.»
It is also stated that the defendant was previously prosecuted on the government-controlled territory and served under contract at the «people’s police of the LPR.»
The man is accused of collecting and transmitting information to the intelligence services of Ukraine about the time and places of military operations, warehouses and routes of movement of the illegal armed formations. This was announced by the press service of the so-called «LPR Prosecutor-General’s Office» on 20 November 2019.
2. 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.»
On 19 November 2019, «the MPs» of the so-called «People’s Council of the LPR» adopted in the course of their plenary session the law «On Amending the Law of the Luhansk People’s Republic «On the State Flag of the Luhansk People’s Republic.» The law «On Amendments to the Law of the Luhansk People’s Republic «On the Development of Agriculture.» The law «On Amendments to Article 343 of the Criminal Code of the Luhansk People’s Republic and the Code of Administrative Offences of the Luhansk People’s Republic.» The law «On Amendments to Article 74 of the Criminal Code of the Luhansk People’s Republic.» And the law «On Amendments to the Labor Code of the Luhansk People’s Republic.»
3. 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.»
Representatives of the so-called «social movement» «Peace to the land of Luhansk» attended the show «Time. Choice. Will» of the Luhansk Academic Russian Drama Theatre named after Pavel Luspekaev in Luhansk. The play is based on the propaganda poetry of the authors of the so-called «LPR» about the war in Donbas. This was reported by «LPR mass media» «Luhansk Information Center» on 21 November 2019.
On 26 November 2019, actions and flash mobs took place in Antratsyt and Antratsytivs’kyi district, in Sorokynskyi district (former Krasnodonskyi), in Khrustalnyi (former Krasnyi Luch), in Lutuhynskyi district, in Perevalsky district and in Kadiivka (former Stakhanov) in honor of the fifth anniversary since the publication of the law «On the State Flag of the LPR» by the so-called «People’s Council of the LPR.»
Employees of local administrations, budget-funded institutions, members of the so-called social movement «Peace to the land of Luhansk», pensioners, as well as children of school and preschool age took part in those «actions.»
On the same day in Donetsk, the so-called «DPR Information Ministry» held an event for pupils of the Oleksandr Zakharchenko Cadet Corps. The event was called «Cadets – heirs of St. George’s glory» and was dedicated to the Day of St. George’s Cross.
4. Violation of property rights
In November 2019, 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 November 2019 of six vacant real estate objects, which are to be put out on lease.
In November 2019, the so-called «state committee of taxes and duties» of the so-called «LPR» published 26 announcements concerning the discovery of unclaimed property objects.
Among the property declared vacant are:
- Property of legal entities: administrative buildings, self-service payment terminals, ATMs, metering devices, advertising structures, TV studio equipment, office equipment, office furniture, freight cars.
- Property of individuals: a trade pavilion, cars, money, cigarette blocks, water meter.
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.»