Our Association sent its submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence Dr. Fabian Salvioli on the roles and responsibilities of non-state armed groups in transitional justice processes. ARC described to professor Salvioli own experience on researches the issues of the transitional justice for peninsula, with relevant cultural, economic, social and financial impacts, related with human and indigenous rights of Crimean residents and ethnic groups, including their right to sustainable development
Association pointed of the importance of the transitional justice for the solving the future consequences of the illegal occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea by Russia since 2014, as a part of Russian-Ukrainian interstate conflict, that changed the situation radically in the Europe. ARC’s submission described to UN Rapporteur the systematic gross violations of the human rights and humanitarian standards were committed in last seven years in the peninsula, condemned by the UN GA resolutions, resolutions of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, of the PACE, of the European Parliament’s resolutions etc. Association pointed that cross human rights violations, correlated with crimes against humanity in Crimea are now subject to consideration in International Court of Justice, case 166 and the European Court of Human Rights, case 20958/14 and others.
Association expressed to Dr. Salvioli its opinion that the transitional justice effort of Ukraine is a response to a multi-layer conflict, which includes dealing with the legacies of the totalitarian rule and the subsequent kleptocratic regime, response to open occupation of parts of the territory of Ukraine by another state. A specific feature of the illegally occupied Crimea is that it is home for indigenous peoples, all of which were subjected to different forms of genocide by the Nazi and Soviet regimes. So there are two possibilities of transitional justice in region. First, any overall transitional justice strategy for Ukraine intended to overcome the consequences of the ongoing armed conflict, and it refers secondly to transitional justice for the Crimean Tatars in the historical context, including overcoming the consequences of the genocide against them.
ARC described in the submission the role of the non-state armed actors, including “cossaks”, “veterans of Soviet-Afghan war” and “Crimean self-defence units” in the attempted annexation of Crimea and Russia’s effective control over peninsula. It pointed to UN Special Rapporteur on experts’ doubtless conclusion, that those illegal armed unites that were directly involved in serious human rights violations in the Crimea, including killings, kidnapping, tortures, enforced disappearances, illegal property seizure, ban of media and meetings etc. But the level of autonomy in those units’ behaviour was minimal since 2014, as they were under full control of Russia’s military stuff and special services. This issue was confirmed by the decision of the European Court in mentioned case 20958/14 that agreed on Russia’s effective control over Crimea from 27 February 2014, when exactly those “cossaks”, “veterans” and “self-defence units” allegedly were the “governing forces” in the Crimea before Russia declared on the “annexation of peninsula” on March 18, 2014.
Association pointed in its submission the fact of full control Russia’s military stuff and special services over those criminal formations is also proved by full absence of their participation in assisting the truth-seeking processes established in connection to the aforementioned human rights and humanitarian violations in the Crimea. ARC stressed its belief that Rapporteur’s visit to Ukraine, including Crimea, and relevant UN researches on the issues of transitional justice issues, would enable the UN bodies to make a first-hand impression of the situation.