In October 2019, new human rights violations were discovered in the occupied and Russia-backed Luhansk and Donetsk regions: illegal detentions and restrictions on the freedom of movement of civilians, creation of a parallel legal system, violation of property rights, involvement of minors in propaganda. We are compelled to state that all these human rights violations have become the «norm» for the residents of the so-called «people’s republics.»
1. Illegal Arrests, Detentions and Restrictions on Freedom of Movement
The so-called illegal «DPR court of appeal» found Marina Chuikova, a resident of Horlivka, guilty under the article «321 of the Criminal Code of the DPR (espionage)» and sentenced her to 11 years of imprisonment in a penal colony of general regime. This was announced by the so-called «General Prosecutor’s Office of the DPR» on October 1, 2019.
Also, the so-called «Supreme Court of the Donetsk People’s Republic» condemned the serviceman of the Ukrainian Armed forces V. I. Gorobets to 16 years of imprisonment. The man is found guilty of «carrying out terrorist activities» and «forcible seizure of power.’ According to the report, Gorobets was trained at the 169th Military Training Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine «Desna.» The Donetsk News Agency, which is controlled by the Russian occupational administration, announced this on 2 October 2019.
The so-called «Supreme Court of the Donetsk People’s Republic» sentenced a Ukrainian «armed forces soldier Vladimir Voskoboynik to 30 years in prison for «terrorist activities on the territory of the Republic.» This was reported by the so-called Donetsk News Agency on 3 October 2019.
The so-called «Supreme Court of the DPR,» sentenced Bogdan Pantyushenko to 18 years in prison. This was reported on 4 October 2019 by the so-called «Prosecutor-General’s Office of the DPR.»
The so-called «Supreme Court of Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR)» sentenced an unspecified woman to 14 years in prison for «treason.» This was reported in the press service of the so-called «Prosecutor General’s Office of LPR.»
A serviceman of the 53th brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces committed suicide in an illegal prison of the so-called «Ministry of State Security of DPR.» This was announced by a blogger on Twitter on 15 October 2019.
The so-called «court of DPR» found the journalist Snanislav Aseev guilty in August 2019 under the articles «Organization of an extremist Community», «Espionage and Incitement to Espionage», «Public Calls for Extremist Activity,» «Public Calls for Actions aimed at Violation of Territorial Integrity.» This was reported by the so-called «Prosecutor General’s Office of the DPR» on October 22, 2019.
From closed sources we know that Sergei Leontiefich Gavrilovich was illegally detained and imprisoned in October 2019; he is held in the building of the former SBU in Luhansk. The fate of the man is still unknown.
2. Creation of parallel legal, bar and notary systems and courts
In the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the occupation administrations of the Russian Federation and the media under their control continue to inform local residents and the world about various activities of their «state institutions.» We note that these activities have no legal effect and are aimed only at attesting the so-called «statehood» in the «republics.»
On October 17, 2019, «MPs» of the so-called «People’s Council of LPR» during the plenary session adopted in the first and second readings the law «On Amendments to Article 1 of the Law of the Luhansk People’s Republic «On the state positions of the Luhansk People’s Republic.»
Law «On Amendments to Article 13 of the Law of the Luhansk People’s Republic «On Road Traffic.» Law «On Amendments to Articles 23 and 63 of the Criminal Code of the Luhansk People’s Republic specifying the concept of «state of intoxication.»
Law «On Amendments to Article 69 of the Law of the Luhansk People’s Republic «On the State Civil Service of the Luhansk People’s Republic.» Law «On Amendments to the Family Code of the Luhansk People’s Republic.» Law «On Amending Article 6.32 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Luhansk People’s Republic.» Law «On Amending Article 7 (Note 1) of the Law of the Luhansk People’s Republic «On Martial Law.» Law «On the State Bank of the Luhansk People’s Republic.» Law «On Amending Article 8 of the Law of the Luhansk People’s Republic «On the Supreme Court of the Luhansk People’s Republic.»
«MPs» of the so-called «People’s council of the Donetsk People’s Republic» on October 18, 2019, during the plenary session adopted in the first and second readings the law «On Amendments to the Law of the Donetsk People’s Republic «On Education.» On October 11, 2019 – Law «On Amendments to the Law of the Donetsk People’s Republic «On Freedom of Religion and Religious Associations.»
At the end of September, the law «On Amendments to the Law of the Donetsk People’s Republic «On Tax System» and Article 11 of the Law of the Donetsk People’s Republic «On Private Farming» was adopted. Also, on 8 October 2019, the law «On Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Article 124 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Donetsk People’s Republic» came into force.
3. Compulsory membership in «social» organizations and participation in «patriotic» and «social» actions of «LPR» and «DPR.» Involvement of children in propaganda
In the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions, controlled by the occupation administrations of the Russian Federation, anti-Ukrainian propaganda has been conducted among children, adolescents and young people in the form of «military-patriotic upbringing» and a compulsory membership of them in «social» organizations. Employees of state-financed enterprises with 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 of representatives of the occupation administration are qualified as violation of «freedom of association.»
Students of the Luhansk National Taras Shevchenko University held the so-called «Pokrovskie Shermitsy», a traditional game of the Don Cossacks, on the eve of the Orthodox holiday of the Protection of the Mother of God. This was reported by the so-called LPR media outlet «Luhansk Information Center» on 11 October 2019.
On October 15, 2019, in Alchevsk, «a ceremony of initiation of the freshmen cadets of the Alchevsk Cossack cadet corps named after Matvey Platov» took place.
The idea to create a Cadet Corps came to the self-proclaimed republics from Russia, where such educational institutions were opened as part of the military-patriotic education of the youth.
There are three types of primary paramilitary educational organizations: a cadet class at schools, a cadet school without accommodation and with accommodation. The latter are called residential schools, where a child lives and studies until graduation, and leaves the school only on weekends or upon notice of dismissal.
In the self-proclaimed republics, the aim of such schools is to train students for further education in higher military educational institutions to renew the personnel reserve of the security forces. Since the psyche of children is not yet shaped, it is very easy to influence them through propaganda.
In addition to the usual school subjects, children in cadet corps are initiated to military training, handling of weapons, military regulations, marching practice, etc.
On October 18, 2019, a «flash mob in support of integration with Russia was held in Luhansk on the Theatre Square.» About 2.5 thousand of Luhansk residents took part in the flash mob. Participants — mainly children of secondary school age — lined up for 15 minutes, forming the slogan «We want to be part of Russia.»
On October 25, 2019, the festival «World of the Russian Soul» opened in Luhansk. The festival was attended by teachers from the occupied part of the Luhansk region and from the Russian Federation.
A rally was held in Donetsk on the occasion of the so-called «Day of the State Flag of the Donetsk People’s Republic.» About seven thousand people took part in this event. The event took place on the Lenin Square. This was reported on 25 October 2019 by the so-called media outlet of DPR «Donetsk News Agency.»
As a result of uncontrolled entry of weapons and ammunition to the territory controlled by the occupation authorities of the Russian Federation in the occupied Luhansk and Donetsk regions, dangerous objects are accessible to children and cause injuries and deaths.
On September 28, 2019, five children aged seven to 13 sustained injuries with various levels of severity as a result of an explosion of a grenade they found in a cache near residential buildings in the village of Chernogorivka (former Chervona Zoria) in Perevalsky district.
A second case took place on October 12, 2019, in Starobeshevo district, where a child born in 2010, while walking in a forest on the outskirts of the village, found an ammunition cache. Without understanding the danger, he blew up one of the fuses of a hand grenade, which cause an injury to his arm.
4. Violation of property rights
In September 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 regions.
The so-called «DPR state property fund» in October 2019 reported of six vacant real estate properties, which it intends to lease.
In October 2019, the so-called «State Committee of Taxes and Levies» placed 43 announcements concerning identification of various unclaimed properties in «LPR.»
Among the property identified as vacant, we find property of legal entities: non-residential administrative building, locomotives, passenger and freight wagons, tanks, steel containers, weight machines, boxes, money, warehouses, air conditioners, electrical equipment, ATMs, as well as individual property: cars, cigarette blocs, office equipment, furniture, generators, snowmobiles.
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 placed under the control of «LPR.»