Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
7th May, 2016
The Information Group on Crimes against the Person (IGCP) has published an annual report on mass human rights violations during the conflict in Ukraine. The book is horrifying in its scope and depth of coverage, not to mention chilling in its mass of details…
Below is a segment from the book (final chapter), and under it a link where you can download the entire book in pdf format.
In November 2013, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Independence Square in Central Kiev, inspired by the dream of a better future — a future in a free, democratic, law-based state (actually, in Independence square including the surrounding streets, no more than 35,000 people can fit, so it’s not worth repeating clichés of the Ukrainian propaganda – Varyag).
No one could even imagine:
- That after some six months, the Southeastern regions of Ukraine would be the scene of full-scale hostilities with the use of armored vehicles, artillery and aviation;
- That the paramilitary pro-government and anti-government formations would massively kidnap and kill the “disloyal”;
- That the Security Service of Ukraine, like Stalin’s NKVD, would persecute political opponents of the new regime and, not stopping short of torture, to mass fabricate fictitious “criminal proceedings”;
- That the Ukrainian media will become a tool of primitive propaganda, and independent journalists would be subject to prosecution and intelligence services, and armed radicals;
- That the scared population of Crimea would prefer to live in another state;
- That power in the country will be in the hands of oligarchs, and ordinary people would be dramatically poorer.
Could people standing on Independence Square imagine that soon fellow citizens would be killed in the thousands, and tens of thousands wounded, but “just” beaten does no longer count?
“They took me for being denounced just because I stayed in the city. National guardsmen and SBU officers brought me to Kramtorsk and bullied me for three days. They beat me with a wooden stick from head to toe. My whole body was purple. Then they struck me in the stomach which caused internal bleeding, and then made a “doll’ out of me, that means two guys came and beat me on the head with books. One guy hits from from behind, and the other from the front, then they kick in the stomach with their boots and you lose consciousness. I hit the floor. From there they took me for a medical exam.”
How did the impulse for freedom lead to disaster?
Do not expect the answers to this question to be found soon — after all, even almost a hundred years after the beginning of the great Russian revolution of 1917, historians continue to argue about the reasons that led to the formation and strengthening of the repressive Stalinist regime.
In our opinion, it is now much more important to understand what factors contribute to the fact that violations of the rights of man and of the citizen adopted today in Ukraine are massive.
Probably the first step in this direction was taken when militiamen stood in rows guarding the administrative building in Central Kiev, throwing the first stones and bottles with an incendiary mix. Supporting attacks by the radical nationalists in the police and participants of the Euromaidan have not understood that the result of such actions became the death of the legal system.
We cannot talk about human rights when untouchable law enforcement become numerous formations of armed militants, when the radicals are given carte blanche for crimes against law enforcement officers, political opponents, and dissenters.
Absolutization of the participants of the Euromaidan of their own self-righteousness, and contempt for the “cattle” supporting President Yanukovych has led to the fact that, after the arrival of the new government, opponents of the Euromaidan didn’t even try to engage in dialogue. The aggressive rhetoric of the new authorities against political opponents, repression, and disregard for legal norms caused a reaction.
The escalation of the conflict went on the rise: from political crisis to civil war, from civil strife to armed clashes. The terrible but logical result was full-scale civil war in the South-Eastern regions of the country.
The main factor that led Ukraine to the civil war, in our view, was pursued by the official government in Kiev’s “anti-terrorist operation” in Donbass. After the violent overthrow of President Yanukovych, the leaders of the Euromaidan came to power, and instead of seeking a compromise with those opposed to violent regime change, the citizens relied on the violent suppression of protests.
As law enforcement officers of Southeastern regions of Ukraine had no desire to carry out violent suppression of the protesters, these functions were entrusted with the paramilitary groups of the Euromaidan. This has led to the growth of mutual violence and counters the formation of armed groups of opponents of the new government in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
In reply, officials in Kiev announced the beginning of the “antiterrorist operation” in which the Ukrainian security forces systematically committed unlawful acts that constitute war crimes, including:
- torture, cruel treatment, and violations of personal dignity;
- attacks on civilians;
- indiscriminate attacks and disproportionate attacks.
In all cases, the object of the crime was the people and objects protected by international humanitarian law, namely:
- People who do not take a direct part or who have ceased to take part in hostilities;
- People deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict;
- the civilian population and individual civilians;
- Civilian objects, including medical institutions, formations of sanitary vehicles, historical monuments, buildings of a religious nature, educational institutions, and other objects which are not military.
The crimes listed above committed by Ukrainian security forces against the civilian population in the ATO zone are widespread and systematic, with the necessary degree of state involvement, and therefore can be considered not only as war crimes but also as crimes against humanity.
It should be understood that every civilian in the Southeastern region of Ukraine who was shot and killed by the Ukrainian military and each action taken by pro-government paramilitary groups to terrorize the population increases the number of anti-government militias and provokes violence.
Anti-government formations, as well as the Ukrainian security forces, practice enforced disappearance, torture, and extrajudicial killings. Without a doubt, these actions can also be classified as war crimes.
Here we present the transcript from the wiretapping in full: “Here one really confesses and is selling secrets about who gave him orders and what kind. We just need to work a but more. Even just a half hour. One broke but the other doesn’t want to say anything. The one who broke is just saying different interesting facts. But we’re the gestapo. We can dance. We don’t give a fuck. Just let him talk and we’ll record and throw up a video. That’s the maximum, and then I think we can just release him…”
Massive violations of the Ukrainian authorities, human rights and civil liberties are not confined to the so-called “ATO zone”.
The rest of the country systematically committed gross violations, including:
- Torture, cruel treatment, and outrages upon personal dignity;
- Unlawful criminal prosecution;
- The creation of obstacles for the activity of journalists.
Pro-government non-state actors commit systematic attacks on the opposition with impunity, creating an atmosphere of fear in society.
All of this does not promote the de-escalation of the civil conflict, which has become the main content of the Ukrainian political crisis in 2013-2014. And hence, in 2015, the scope of human rights violations in Ukraine only increased.
During the ATO in Ukraine, at least 5,376 people have been killed (February 2015)
The Information Group on Crimes against the Person (IGCP) continues to collect data on the minimum number of losses of combatants and civilians during the so-called anti-terrorist operation in the South-east of Ukraine. Due to the fact that the data on the number of dead and wounded is extremely fragmentary, this review only estblishes a minimum number.
According to the obtained results, the minimum total number of losses of combatants and civilians during the ATO for the period from January 16th to February 6th, 2015 amounted to 216 for the Ukrainian military. The real loss is undoubtedly higher, IGCP experts say.
Information was collected about the 93 killed in the militia. During this period in the area of ATO, at least 240 civilians were killed. This data, however, is not exhaustive, as the parties of the conflict understate the losses of their Armed Forces, overstate the number of killed and wounded enemy soldiers, and manipulate data on the number of injured civilians.
The minimum total number of victims of the civil confrontation in Ukraine, taking into account the to-date aggregated information for the period from 16th January to 6th Feb 2015 is 5,376.
Download link here