UHHRU appeal to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
The entire world has witnessed the armed invasion by the Russian Federation of Ukrainian territory. At first, with the use of Russian Federation forces the Crimea was seized and annexed. In order to conceal this crime Russia used quasi-legal justification in the form of a referendum in the Crimea on March 16 2014, in breach of Ukraine’s Constitution.
Now Russia, without declaring war, has moved regular units of its armed forces into the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine with these engaging in battle with the Ukrainian armed forces. There are thousands of dead and wounded, with many civilian, as well as military, victims. There are widespread rights violations. As well as the cost in human life, many people have lost their homes and possessions with hundreds of thousands of civilians forced to flee the violence in conditions of undeclared wide-scale war to other regions of Ukraine or to other countries. The economic infrastructure of the entire region is being destroyed with grave economic, environmental and humanitarian consequences.
The initially covert, then open invasion by units of the Russian armed forces onto Ukrainian territory is in several breach of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, as well as of the Additional Protocol to these conventions relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), 8 June 1977.
These violations by the Russian Federation are resulting in:
2) torture and inhuman treatment;
3) acts of terrorism;
4) the deliberate inflicting of intense suffering and serious bodily injuries and damage to health; humiliation, including humiliating and insulting treatment; rape; forced prostitution; and indecent encroachments of any form;
5) the unlawful, wanton and wide-scale destruction and appropriation of property without any military need for this;
6) forcing prisoners of war or other protected persons to serve in the armed forces of an enemy state;
7) the deliberate deprivation of the right of a prisoner of war or other protected person to fair and normal court proceedings;
8) unlawful deportation or resettlement or unlawful deprivation of liberty;
9) forced acceptance of the citizenship of another country;
10) the entirely unjustified deployment of means of waging war (artillery; missile launchers; and other forms of military strikes; arms and ammunition) right among an urban or rural population, in schools, kindergartens and student hostels;
11) the taking of hostages;
12) theft and plundering.
The above cases of criminal activities before by separatist terrorist organizations from self-declared ‘people’s republics’ in the east of Ukraine, and from the Russian military supporting them have received wide coverage from the world media. These cases are documented and can be presented in the appropriate form and in accordance with proper procedure.
On behalf of the human rights organizations who are part of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union we turn to you in the hope that, realizing the danger from the Russian Federation of disruption of the world order established after the Second World War and enshrined in documents of international law, the next section of the UN General Assembly beginning in September will add to the agenda an item on the liability of the Russian Federation and its leaders for violation of the UN Charter. This violation was seen in the form of military invasion of Ukraine and the unlawful and flagrant violation of its bodies and territory. The Russian Federation as a member of the UN is committing crimes which bear the hallmarks of war crimes on Ukrainian territory and should not be allowed to evade liability.
In view of the emergency situation, we call on you to provide urgent and vital assistance to Ukraine, and to also adopt preventive security measures with respect to the world community, including by improvements to international law taking into account the new threats to peace resulting from new forms of hybrid war.
Mykola Kozyrev, Head of the UHHRU Board
Arkady Bushchenko, Executive Director
1 September 2014
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