On March, 31 UN Monitoring Mission in Ukraine presented the Briefing paper on the victims of forced disappearances in the Crimea. Since the beginning of the occupation of the peninsula UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) has documented 43 cases of enforced disappearances in the region [1].

These mostly took the form of abductions and kidnappings and the victims consist of 39 men and 4 women; the first documented enforced disappearance took place on 3 March 2014 and the most recent on 23 May 2018. Out of the 43 victims of enforced disappearances, 11 persons remain “missing” and one man remains in “detention”. Alleged perpetrators comprised “militia” groups, such as the “Crimean self-defense” and “Cossack groups”; agents of the Russian Federal Security Service; and other “law enforcement authorities”, including the “Crimean police”.

OHCHR points thast perpetrators have used torture and ill-treatment to force victims to self-incriminate or testify against others, as well as retaliation for their political affiliation or position. No individual has been “prosecuted” in relation to any of the enforced disappearances, as well as torture and ill-treatment, documented by OHCHR.

In connection with such unprecedented human rights violations, the UN’s report calls on Russia to:

– refrain from any involvement in enforced disappearances and incommunicado detention, including by direct abduction of individuals, holding individuals in unofficial places of detention, or subsequent concealment of the whereabouts of disappeared persons;

– ensure the independent, impartial and effective investigation of all allegations of enforced disappearances and associated human rights violations, particularly torture and ill-treatment,

– provide relatives of the disappeared with effective access to information about the investigation, including investigation files and keep them regularly informed on any action taken and any progress achieved;

– create a single authoritative and comprehensive database of the names and details of all individuals who have been reported missing, or abducted in Crimea since 2014 and make the database public and accessible to relatives of the disappeared;

– provide appropriate redress and compensation to the victims of enforced disappearances who have been released and to the relatives of those victims that have been confirmed as deceased;

– sign and ratify without delay and without reservation the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, recognize the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances

to receive communications from individuals and states and enact effective implementing legislation.

Our Association’s experts already pointed attention to the UN Working Group on Involuntary or Enforced Disappearances (WGEID) on situation of enforced disappearances in Ukraine, including the Crimea, in special report, that is published on the UN web-sources [2].

1. https://ukraine.un.org/sites/default/files/2021-03/BN%20Enforced%20dis%20Crimea%20ENG.pdf

2. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Disappearances/effective-investigation/Dr_Hab_Prof_Borys_Babin.pdf