There have been 105 civilian casualties as a result of the war in Donbas over the last three months, including 12 deaths and 93 injuries, according to the latest report from the United Nations Commission for Human Rights. The reporting period covers May 16 to August 15.
According to the head of the UN monitoring mission in Ukraine Fiona Frazer, this figure is up 30% from the previous reporting period but is a 37% decrease compared to the same time last year.
“This shows the unpredictability of the conflict, and it also highlights what people are having to go through, they never quite know what the next day is going to bring,” Frazer says.
The UN mission in Ukraine also recorded 160 human rights violations during this three-month period. According to the report, the Ukrainian government is responsible for 62% of these violations, while the Russian Federation, as the occupying power in annexed Crimea, was responsible for 26%. A further 12% were recorded in the occupied territories.
The issues observed by the UN in Ukraine include those relating to the judicial process. This includes cases connected to the 2014-2015 Euromaidan protests, the 2014 Odesa May 2 massacre, and the ongoing conflict in Donbas.
Frazer highlights the fact that Ukraine’s far-right movements, which the UN has noted concerns about in previous reports, are a “pressure point” in terms of influencing the courtroom.
When it comes to court cases involving the war in Donbas, however, the UN reported that 60% of convictions were due to plea bargains. The UN has recommended that judges carefully review plea bargains in the future “to ensure that the defendant hasn't done this due to pressure, due to ill-treatment or torture,” Frazer notes, adding that there were cases of convictions taking place in the absence of any evidence.
Photo credit: HROMADSKE
The report further notes a staggering 210% increase in violations against the media and civil society activists from the previous reporting period.
“For us, what's actually important is that, when there is an attack on a journalist, on a civic activist, that there is then a swift and effective investigation,” Frazer told Hromadske.