Sexual crimes related to the conflict in Eastern-Ukraine have been allegedly committed since the beginning of the armed conflict in early 2014. The United Nations observed that ‘allegations of sexual violence perpetrated by all parties involved in hostilities are entrenched in the narratives of people living along the contact line’. Cases of sexual violence are usually under-reported, due to prevailing unease about this issue, the stigma and trauma associated with it, as well as, in this case, the limited access to Eastern Ukraine territories. Further, victims and witnesses are often reluctant to speak, out of fear of reprisals.
Against this backdrop, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its partner organisation the Eastern-Ukrainian Centre for Civic Initiatives (EUCCI) have embarked on a project of gathering and analysing evidence of sexual crimes in Donbass, Ukraine. In the implementation of this project, FIDH and EUCCI have uncovered mounting evidence of heinous cases of sexual crimes committed mostly in detention facilities operated by members of separatist paramilitaries and quasi-state institutions, but also attributed to members of Ukrainian security services and pro-Kyiv volunteer battalions.
FIDH and EUCCI argue that these crimes have been committed in the context of and were associated with the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine, and/or as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population, and therefore may amount to war crimes and/or crimes against humanity. A Communication will be submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Communication, filed under Article 15 of the ICC Statute, aims to support the Prosecutor’s ongoing preliminary examination of the situation in Ukraine, opened since 25 April 2014, and to persuade the Prosecutor to open of a full investigation into ICC Statute crimes committed in Ukraine, including sexual crimes.
• Delphine Carlens, Deputy Head of the International Justice Desk, FIDH
• Testimony by Iryna Dovgan
• Alexandre Prezanti, partner of Global Diligence LLP, retained by FIDH to assist EUCCI and FIDH with the documentation and analysis of evidence, and drafting of a communication to the ICC on sexual crimes in Eastern Ukraine
• Volodymyr Shcherbachenko, Head of the EUCCI
• Nataliia Hrytsenko, legal analyst, EUCCI.
Please register using the following link: