Simon Papuashvili of the International Partnership for Human Rights (International Partnership for Human Rights – IPHR) answered the questions of Ukrainian journalist of the newspaper “Province”. Human rights activist spoke about the work to ensure accountability IPHR and partners for human rights violations in eastern Ukraine.
– What do you do and why come here?
– Our organization is based in Brussels and is trying to work to improve the human rights situation in the countries of the former Soviet Union through the European Union. We mainly work with local social activists and organizations, collect information and submit it to the various structures of the EU. We are trying to influence the government, including Ukraine, so that they respect the rights of residents of the country.
Here we are in the framework of the “Against impunity” project. The idea was born during euromaidan events. To us Kiev human rights organizations to organize monitoring of the observance of human rights. We drew our colleagues from the former Soviet countries and recorded violations during maydanovskih events. But then events began on the East of Ukraine, and we have directed our efforts on professional documentation of violations of humanitarian law here, the identification of specific individuals who commit these crimes. We will ensure that these people were punished. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian and Russian governments are looking at is not very serious. We do not see them in this politically motivated. So we want to harness the power of the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity and war crimes. What it is, according to our data, now committed in the territory of Donbass.
– What you can expect from your mission?
– We want to ensure that the EU courts have issued a warrant for the arrest of the perpetrators of such crimes. What should influence the reduction of such violations.
Also we are engaged by obtaining compensation for victims of crime. For this we use the European Court of Human Rights. For me personally, as a lawyer has a lot of experience with this court, and we collect data on people who have received material and moral damages, the court ordered him to reimburse the state.
– How are you, and what the results are already here?
– 25 people of Ukrainian activists and lawyers, specially trained, October reside in the East of Ukraine, gather information and take the testimony of the victims. Given the scale of the crimes that we capture with the month of April, – this work is very time-consuming. While formalized about 30 cases under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, but the work continues, and it will not end until the conflict will continue. We are talking about such violations, such as the use of civilians as a military force as a shield. We also have episodes when the two sides use prohibited weapons international standards, including cluster bombs. The data is processed and the first report we plan to publish in February 2015.
– And how do you collect the data in the occupied territories?
– Basically we are helped by the colleagues from Russia of the “Memorial” Society. They have access to the other easier, and it would be risky for us.
– If people have such facts, where they apply?
– It is important for us that people are not just informed, and helped bring the perpetrators to justice and to receive compensation for damages. We reserve their position in the wording of “Province”, please.
– Why the injured person must apply to the International Criminal Court for the state, for example, Russia?
– According to our data, people who are fighting on the other hand, receive financial and military assistance from the Russian government, which already for anybody not a secret. Therefore, for all the human rights violations that are taking place there, should meet this state.
– What are the violations you commit the most often?
– Most often we make the capture of civilians, torture, selective fire on a peaceful neighborhood, with not evacuated. An example is considered a war crime, for example, the location of the guns on the roofs of houses. We are investigating non-judicial punishment. We have so far been in Konstantinovka, Artemovsk and some nearby villages. We talked to hundreds of people. And not only with the victims but also the volunteers that work with the wounded and displaced. If war crimes have to interview a lot of people. For example, after the selective firing of the hospital. But people are afraid to talk, especially those who live in the occupied territories. That’s all we consider. The main thing – do not create human problems and help solve them. So the main thing for us – guaranteed privacy. But if the victim is willing to talk, then its data will not get to court. We have a special system of data protection.
– What if they violate the laws of war, which are stationed in the city?
– where the victims should be treated in the first instance – the police, the military prosecutor, the SBU.
– A lot of complaints from citizens about violations during the arrest of their relatives and friends …
– If a person is taken without any explanation, it is the kidnapping, forced disappearance. But in the military conflicts can detain people who could potentially participate in a war on the other side. Humanitarian law allows such. But only in the context of military operations. For example, loss of business this does not apply. But keep in inhumane conditions can not be anyone. A torture – if it is badly fed, not allowed to sleep, kept in cold, etc.
We are ready to issue such a statement to the International Court of Justice, even if the person has not passed all authorities in Ukraine. If he, for example, is afraid to do it or considered useless and he has evidence that he is dangerous and pointless to do so.
– What are your impressions of your stay in the Donbass?
– It amazes me that people are here under the huge influence of the Kremlin propaganda that attacks from all sides. It is surprising that people because of her ready to take up arms and kill even friends and neighbors. Thus, without special bases. After all, in today’s world, a person always has the opportunity to choose the necessary information. I do not know why this is happening. For me, it’s sad.
But it’s nice to see that, despite the war, you still have economic activity, operates transport, hotels, even restaurants. This gives us hope that everything will be settled, and people will understand for the war and to hate each other, there can be no reason.