The highest legal authority in the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic,” its Supreme Court, is facing more pressure from Kyiv.
The far eastern Ukrainian region, which is temporarily under Russian occupation, recently drew international scrutiny for having tried, and sentenced to death, two British and one Moroccan national. The three men had been fighting on behalf of Ukraine, and should have been afforded their rights under the Geneva Convention as Prisoners of War. However, continuing its longtime policy, aligned with the policy first set by Russia, of treating all foreigners in the conflict as “mercenaries,” the “DNR” did not afford the men their rights and they are now on death row.
The Prosecutor General of Ukraine’s Office, announced via a Telegram channel on Thursday, that “Under the procedural guidance of Donetsk Regional Prosecutor’s Office, a citizen of Ukraine was notified in absentia of suspicion of having violated the laws and rules of war by prior conspiracy (Part 2 of Article 28, Part 1 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).”
In earlier interviews for the Kyiv Post, international legal experts had said that the findings of the so-called “court” were meaningless. One international lawyer who has worked extensively in Ukraine and in Russia said that “If there is no country – there is no court,” and indicated that any international court that would review the case would immediately throw out the “court’s” rulings as meaningless.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General went on that the suspected fake judge, and “two more illegally appointed ‘judges’ severely violated the national legislation and the international humanitarian law and applied the unlawfully introduced criminal legislation of the unrecognized republic to sentence two UK citizens and one Morocco citizen, who officially defended Ukraine in the ranks of the AFU, to death.”
The death penalty is not allowed in Ukraine. However, the “DNR” recently lifted its moratorium on executing criminals and said that the guilty foreigners would soon face a firing squad. Some reports had indicated that “DNR” authorities had already prepared the place where the executions would be conducted.
Many observers have posited that the three men would eventually be exchanged for prisoners with Russian passports that are currently being detained by Ukraine, or elsewhere in the West. However, according to British media reports, one of the sentenced British men recently called his mother to let her know that his sentence would soon be carried out.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Luhansk Branch, is collecting criminal evidence for the future trial of the so-called “judges,” who will face a criminal trial should they be apprehended.
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