Lyudmila Korotkykh told the international community about the violation of human rights by the Russian invaders in the newly occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions

April 26, 2023

On Monday, April 24, in Vienna, the Crimean Tatar Resource Center held a side event on the topic “Large-scale practice of torture and ill-treatment under Russian occupation: Crimean examples”.

As you know, on February 24, 2022, Russia launched a full-scale and open military aggression against Ukraine. Russian-controlled troops and mercenaries are carrying out gross violations of international humanitarian law, torture and humiliating treatment in Ukraine.

Topics covered:

  • Torture and ill-treatment in Russian-occupied Crimea since 2014 as a form of racial discrimination, and ill-treatment in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine since 2022 as a tool of Russian aggression and state terrorism.
  • Torture and ill-treatment of Crimean athletes and the corresponding “Olympic” provocations of Russia.
  • Cruel treatment of Ukrainian children deported to the occupied Crimea

Lyudmila Korotkykh, manager and lawyer of the KRC, told the international community about the violation of human rights by the Russian invaders in the newly occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Korotkykh noted that in some settlements, such as the city of Genichesk or Nova Kakhovka, which are temporarily controlled by the Russian occupiers, torture chambers have been set up, in which Ukrainian citizens who participated in actions against the occupation or who have a clear pro-Ukrainian position are held.

Korotkykh was also said about the frequent cases of kidnappings in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Full text of the speech

Russia’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine provoked a significant increase in human rights violations, a wave of war crimes and crimes against humanity. These crimes must be recorded, documented and systematized in order to further establish the truth and justice, both at the national and international levels.

My organization such a various Ukrainians organization like a Crimean Tatar Resource Center documented these crimes. When documenting such cases, it is important to have disaggregated data on crimes against indigenous peoples, national minorities and other vulnerable groups. Working with victims of such crimes is a difficult process, as people are in a depressed psychological state, often intimidated and afraid to talk about what happened to them. Our organization has developed a special questionnaire that takes into account issues of social activity, belonging to a vulnerable group. Psychologists were consulted during the development of this questionnaire.

In 2022, the Crimean Tatar Resource Center recorded 299 violent abductions in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, 84 of which were the representatives of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people. 56 people were released thanks to the timely response of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, in particular, sending complaints to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances. 25 people are in detention, the fate of 218 people remains unknown.

Often when working with victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity, we are faced with the fact that the same person can be a victim in one episode and a witness in another.

Unfortunately, the system of recording such crimes by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies does not take these circumstances into account.

Based on the experience of providing materials to the lawyers of Ukraine in the case Ukraine vs Russian Federation for the UN ICJ, submitted complaints to the ECHR and documented crimes, the CTRC faced with the fact that the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine and human rights organizations do not have a single unified database with the possibility of analysing the entered/introduced data, and also have an imperfect system of registration of such crimes.

Our organization develop a register the aim of which is to document and systematize war crimes, crimes against humanity, and human rights violations committed by Russia in Ukraine by collecting data by filling out questionnaires for filling the electronic register. This register allows automatic analysis of data about events, victims and witnesses, comparing this information and recreating a more accurate picture of the events. This information will be transferred to the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine in the framework of facilitating the investigation of these crimes, and will also become the basis for the preparation of expert analytical materials for relevant international organizations and international judicial institutions, which will ensure an impartial investigation and prosecution of those guilty in these crimes.