war crimes in Ukraine

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Minister of Defence demands harsh punishment for killers of “Desna” conscript

01.12.2006    source:

Minister of Defence Anatoly Hrytsenko is emphatic that the corporals who killed Oleksandr Rybka from the Desna No. 169 Infantry Training Centre must face severe punishment. He says that in a week or two the prosecutor’s office will be able to present the case of the killing to the court.

At present in all military units in Ukraine officers have been ordered to have somebody on duty around the clock in the barracks. It must be said that it’s not clear how long they will continue to protect new conscripts from bullies [“didy”] in this way.

Channel 5 reporter in Desna: “In the Desna Training Centre everyone is still in shock over the killing of the new conscript. That at least is what the officers claim. They have been ordered from now on, day and night, outside and in the barracks to protect young men from corporal-bullies. And during the daily rounds to strip the soldiers almost to their underwear to check for any bruises”.

Yet even these measures will not set parents’ minds at rest. Some mothers immediately after the tragedy demanded that the military return their sons who had just taken their oath at Desna.

The military are now actively helping the prosecutor’s office to investigate the incident. The corporals suspected of carrying out the beating of the new conscript have been remanded in custody.

Viktor Boky, commander of the Infantry Training Centre says: “The investigation is moving quickly and I think it will soon be sent to the court”.

Oleksandr Rybka was the first person to die from didivshchyna [bullying] in Ukraine over the last two years, the Minister of Defence stated. He is convinced that such behaviour is a malaise carried over from the Soviet army, and will gradually disappear. At present he is calling for severe punishment for those who having served in the military one year declare themselves “didy” and torment new conscripts.

“I believe that these two corporals, these – I won’t mince words – scum, who beat a soldier to death, these people must face, in my view the maximum sentence envisaged by our criminal code. This is a shocking event that has not occurred for more than two years in the Armed Forces. If the fault of any others, besides these corporals, is proven they must also be held to answer in accordance with the law”.

The killers of Oleksandr Rybka face a sentence of between eight and ten years imprisonment, the military say. The young man’s family will receive insurance from the state of around ten thousand UH.

In the Ministry of Defence they are convinced that such crimes in the military can only be finally eliminated with the creation of a professional army.

Roman Nedzelsky, Oleksandr Frolov, Channel 5

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