LUGANSK, March 15 (Lugansk Media Centre) - Ukrainian citizens have established the People’s Tribunal to investigate the Kiev regime’s crimes in Donbass, representatives of the Tribunal’s initiative group said at a news conference at the Lugansk Media Centre.
“All participants in this news conference were born and grew up in Donbass; we have Ukrainian passports; we all live and work here,” activist Elena Shishkina said.
“Ever since the so-called ‘anti-terrorist operation’ was enforced, we all have seen the events which any person would have regarded some time ago as impossible in a civilised 21st century state,” Shishkina said. “They are war crimes, shelling of civilians, houses, kindergartens, schools and hospitals, people’s being killed or wounded every day, tortures and robberies committed by Ukrainian army battalions in Donbass, masterminded and abetted by the directly involved Ukrainian government.”
Experienced lawyers and public figures have been gathering evidence of the facts of war crimes against Donbass residents since the fighting broke out in the region, she said.
The last straw was the attempt to legalise the war crimes through the Ukrainian parliament’s adopting the law “On the peculiarities of state policy on the restoration of the state sovereignty of Ukraine over the temporarily occupied territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine” (the so called Donbass ‘reintegration’ law), Shishkina said.
This legislation has no peaceful purposes and does nothing to normalise the life of people living in the war zone, the activist sad.
Her colleague Lyubov Batayshova said that residents of Ukraine and Kiev-controlled part of Donbass could participate in the People’s Tribunal as jurors.
“All residents of Ukraine can participate in the People’s Tribunal (as jurors),” Batyashova said. “The Initiative Group will select jurors at its meeting on March 20.
Initiative group representative Sergey Kozhemyakin said the “Donbass reintegration law” was at odds with the Ukrainian Constitution.
“The law will certainly be challenged in accordance with the established procedure; however, this cannot be done in the present-day Ukraine,” Kozhemyakin said. “All Ukrainian courts and law-enforcement bodies are controlled by the authorities and will never pass decisions contrary to their interests.”
He noted criminals would be punished after Ukraine reinstated proper institutes of law-enforcement and legal protection of people’s rights.
Kozhemyakin said the Initiative Group had asked an International Criminal Court prosecutor to address the Donbass war crimes problem and that he had initiated proceedings over the presented materials. The vigorous interaction with the ICC prosecutor resulted in preliminary investigation, and the ICC said its December report that the Ukrainian government had committed crimes, Kozhemyakin said.
“All the facts of crimes will be reviewed at a public trial,” Initiative Group activist Tatyana Kravchenko said.
“We’re all experienced lawyers and judges, so we’ll act as judges, prosecutors and lawyers in the trials of all designated crimes,” she said.
The so-called Donbass ‘reintegration’ law, submitted by the Ukrainian president, became effective on February 24, 2018. The document excludes all reference to the Minsk Agreements and vests the Ukrainian president with the right to use the armed forces inside the country without the parliament’s consent. To this end, Ukraine will set up a Joint Operations Headquarters to take control of all law-enforcers and military and civil administrations in the conflict zone.