war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.



General Assessment

Preliminary results of the voting on 21 November, announced thus far by the Central Election Commission (CEC), suggest widespread falsification of the election results in particular regions of Ukraine.

According to CEC information, on 31 October 27 897 559 votes were cast, in the second round on 21 November the figure was 30 511 289, that is, a further 2 613 730 votes were cast. We would assert that one of the sources for the increase in number of votes for presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych was the use of these additional 2,6 million votes through flagrant and cynical abuse of electoral legislation. How did this happen?

Firstly, voter lists for the second round in some regions were compiled in violation of current law: the number of voters in the lists rose sharply which, in accordance with Part 1 of Article 80 of the Law «On the Ukrainian Presidential elections» can provide grounds for declaring the elections invalid. According to international observers from ENEMO (a European network of civic organizations which monitor elections) from Russia, Belarus’ and Azerbaijan, voter lists in the Donetsk region increased inexplicably by 10% in comparison with the first round of voting. At the same time, the number of votes cast for Yanu­kovych in the Donetsk region increased by 1 million votes.

Secondly, in many regions a «plan» for ensuring participation in the second round of the elections was introduced in Territorial Election Committees (TEC). This was achieved in different ways. In the period between the first and second rounds, instances were recorded of people who had not voted in the first round being coerced into voting for Yanukovych. Unlawful actions were carried out such as mass rounds made of residences by unidentified individuals who did not belong to TEC, however had voter lists for the electoral district with names of those who had not voted on 31 October marked. These individuals tried any means to establish the reason why people had not voted (there is a video recording of this). Later administrative pressure was exerted upon those who hadn’t voted. For example, lecturers from Kharkiv Polytechnic University who had not come to vote to polling station №12 of the territorial electoral district №172 were accordingly summoned by the Dean for a ‘brainwashing’ session. On voting day members of the district election commission kept records of those who had not voted, and furthermore, telephoned electors, or passed their personal details to third parties, who in various ways forced them to come to the polling stations. This was particularly seen in polling stations set up in schools, where teachers visited the parents of their students, and hospitals where doctors appealed to their patients.

Such activities do not fall within the competence of Territorial Election Committees as defined in Article 27 of the Law, and are a direct violation of Article 5 of the Law.

Thirdly, cases where one and the same person voted several times using absentee ballots[1] was on a mass scale, as is confirmed by observers from all regions of the East, Centre and South of the country. This added hundreds of thousands of votes to the coffers of falsification and was an example of undisguised and cynical abuse of the law. The election results at these polling stations should therefore be annulled by the courts.

Coercion to vote for Yanukovych was also applied by putting pressure on students of different institutes and cadets from police colleges, who were forced to vote on the territory of the college under the supervision of the administration. Students from the Kharkiv Agricultural Academy have reported that they were told to take absentee ballot papers and vote on the territory of the Academy, while 300 cadets of the National University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were simply taken to vote to Valki in the Kharkiv region.

A large number of violations were observed on voting day itself. There was an unprecedented number of votes cast outside polling stations, with numerous violations of the law (in some polling stations in Donetsk the number of votes cast not at polling stations stood at 20-30%, despite the fact that the number of applications to vote from home was much lower; it was precisely in these situations that voting papers for ‘dead souls’[2] were added to the papers for people voting from home). At many polling stations official observers from Viktor Yushchenko’s party were removed without any justification, particularly during the vote count. There were also the so called «carousels», when specially selected individuals voted for those on a list who could not vote, and finally for those who had not appeared.

There were cases of voting papers being added in bulk to the ballot boxes, and infringements of procedure for voting counting, etc. Then, when it became clear that even such vote rigging was insufficient, the protocols in Donbass were simply rewritten to ensure «victory».

The vote rigging at the polling stations where Viktor Yanukovych’s victory was forecast was combined with open violence at the stations where Viktor Yushchenko’s lead was «unplanned» in the first round. There were numerous attacks of sometimes armed unidentified individuals in civilian clothes on commissions and observers with the purpose of interfering with the vote itself or the subsequent vote count. In the Sumy region, a few people protecting voting papers were actually injured.

Against this background, the ban on taking video films and the mass refusals to allow representatives of the press to observe vote counts seem like trivial infringements.

The mass, systematic nature of the vote rigging proves that it had been planned in advance as part of the strategic plan of the State authorities to ensure the necessary percentage of votes for the presidential candidate, Viktor Yanuko­vych, to effectively achieve a constitutional coup d’etat.

In conclusion, we consider that during the second round of elections, technology was used which in substance and form were criminal acts which are directly covered by the Criminal Code of Ukraine. These violations can in no way be reconciled with international legislation or with European standards of law and democracy. Obviously, these actions of the regime evoked outrage in millions of people, who came out on to the streets of Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Sumy, Vinnytsa and many other cities in Ukraine.

The only legitimate solution to this crisis is a review of the election results at those polling stations and electoral districts, where significant or mass violations of the law were observed, and a judicial acknowledgement of the cases of vote rigging.

[1] Absentee ballots are used if a person cannot vote at the polling station where they are officially registered. (translator’s note)

[2] In Gogol’s novel «Dead Souls», there was also profit to be made by people who were in fact dead, but not necessarily recorded as having died. In 2004, the records did in fact exist, but the analogy seems apt nonetheless. (translator’s note)

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