… by Ian Greenhalgh
Recently, I was shocked to hear several Ukrainians living here in England vehemently denying there had been any war crimes committed anywhere in Ukraine by the forces of the post-Maidan regime.
Instead, they claimed that their country had been invaded by Russia and that the Ukrainian forces had bravely fought them to a standstill and driven them back into the border region they refer to as the “Anti-Terror Operation (ATO) Zone”. Furthermore, they insisted that all of the crimes committed were carried out by Russian forces.
This all runs contrary to what my general understanding of the situation was; but being a cautious type when it comes to forming viewpoints and opinions, I decided to undertake some research into this subject.
My first step was to go to Youtube and look for actual documentary footage shot ‘on the ground’ so to speak as; to use an old saying ‘seeing is believing’ especially in the modern age where almost everyone carries a cellphone equipped with a camera and the ability to record both still and video images.
If war crimes have been committed, then the evidence will exist in video form, was my simple rationale. One of the most compelling videos I found was this documentary:
War in Donbass: Circles of hell
The documentary was made by the Information Group on Crimes Against The Person (IGCP), an international NGO:
The International Information Group on Crimes against the Person (IGCP) was established in February 2014 as an international civil initiative. The group aims at collecting information about political and other crimes against the person committed in Ukraine since February 22, 2014, as well as informing people in Ukraine, the European Union and the Russian Federation about them.
IGCP is coordinated by Alexandr Dyukov, a Russian historian and head of the Historical Memory Foundation.
The Declaration of the Creation of the IGCP contains their mission statement:
“After months of the political crisis in Ukraine accompanied by violent confrontation between the state and the opposition law-enforcement agencies in several regions almost stopped their activity. Due to this fact mass grave and especially grave crimes against person including assault and battery, torture, rape, and threats of killing take place. These crimes have both criminal and political motivation. Many of them are not only unsuppressed by inactive law-enforcement agencies, but also left unregistered in a due course of law. Members of the law-enforcement agencies also often become victims of assault and battery and are threatened by the criminals. Victims can only hope that the crimes against them will be thoroughly and justly investigated, though there is just a small possibility of it.
As we are absolutely sure, that a human being and his or her rights and freedoms are the greatest values in the modern democratic society, that it is important to achieve justice for the victims of the crimes and that taking into consideration the supremacy of law, we, citizens of Ukraine, the European Union and the Russian Federation, declare the creation of the public international Group of the Information about Crimes against Person. The Group will be responsible for gathering the information about the grave and especially grave crimes against person committed in Ukraine from February 22, 2014 and sharing it with the people in Ukraine, the European Union and the Russia Federation. After the law-enforcement system in Ukraine starts working again, we will seek after the investigation of all the crimes fixed by the Group in a due course of law of Ukraine.”
It also claims that the group is not aligned to any nation or political movement:
“This Group is post-partisan, supranational and non-denominational, it is open for all people. However, it is not a platform for political or social and political discussions. The members of the Group do not have a right to express any political opinion or call for actions that are not a part of the Group’s task in the name of the Group.”
The IGCP’s key work to date is the production of the book Massive Human Rights Violations during the Civil Conflict in Ukraine 2013-2014 which was published at the end of June 2015. The book presents facts concerning crimes against the person and violations of civil rights and freedoms committed during the civil conflict in Ukraine. It contains summarized information about violations of the international norms of human rights by state authorities, non-state organisations and armed groups in Ukraine. At the same time, the publication lists violations of human and civil rights committed by all parties of the conflict.
The publication of this book clearly did not please the Ukrainian government as they promptly banned it:
“The report ‘Massive Human Rights Violations during the Civil Conflict in Ukraine 2013-2014’ is included in the list of books banned by Ukraine for import into the country. The Russian-language book and report is the annual report of the International Information Group on Crimes against the Person (IGCP). The principle author of the report and the coordinator of the ICGP is Alexandr Dyukov, who lives in Russia.”
Obviously, the Ukrainian government does not want this book to be read by the people of Ukraine; this description of the book by the head of the IGCP makes it clear why Kiev wants to suppress this book and the information it contains:
“Our final report shows that large-scale human rights violations acquired a systematic character long ago,” says Alexandr Dyukov. “All parties of the conflict neglect human rights. Within the so-called anti-terror operation, the Ukrainian military regularly commit crimes which are, in fact, war crimes, such as murders, tortures, abductions and unselective attacks on civilians and infrastructure.
“These crimes have a systematic character with a certain involvement of the state authorities, thus they can be qualified both as war crimes and crimes against humanity. The information revealed in our publication gives a clear confirmation of this.”
In September 2014 the IGCP made this submission to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) which is the international body charged with promoting human rights and preventing conflict:
A call to investigate the crimes committed 14 and 15 March 2014 on Rumarskaya Street in Kharkov. I call on the OSCE and the participants of this conference to pay attention to the dire human rights situation in Ukraine and the reluctance of the Ukrainian regime to investigate crimes against humanity and human rights abuses.
In particular, I draw your attention to the violent hate crimes committed 14 and 15 March 2014 on Rumarskaya Street in Kharkov. The case is about militant armed members of the neo-Nazi organization Patriots of Ukraine, which belongs to the Right Sector ultranationalist movement, opening fire and killing two people, wounding several and taking hostages.
In blatant connivance from the side of the EU, EU countries and the Western media, the Ukrainian regime has not investigated these crimes to bring the perpetrators to justice. On the contrary the Ukrainian regime has awarded the leader of the criminal band Mr. Andrei Bilitzkii, who was personally leading the actions of the Patriots of Ukraine at the site of the crime, with high positions in the Ukrainia power structures.
Mr. Bilitzkii has been appointed a colonel of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine and in September 2014 been appointed to sit in the military council of the Popular Front, chaired by Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Mr. Turchinov. He has also been placed in charge of the two military battalions Azov.
It is intolerable that in Europe in the year of 2014 there is state sponsored impunity for such hideous crimes. OSCE must put pressure on the Ukrainian regime to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.
According to the information gathered by IGCP – Information Group on Crimes Against the Person (igcp.eu) the Azov battalion has committed, among other crimes, violent acts in the result of which tens of people disappeared. These crimes are not either investigated by the Ukrainian authorities.