The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, on the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, has called on the international community to draw attention to the fate of persons missing or abducted in Ukrainian territories temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation.
The ministry said in a statement that according to the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, 258 people, including 67 service members and reservists, are considered missing in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
According to available information, at least 44 people have been victims of enforced disappearances in Crimea and Sevastopol since the beginning of the Russian occupation. The fate of 15 of them remains unknown. They are Valerii Vashchuk, Ivan Bondarets, Vasyl Chernysh, Timur Shaimardanov, Seyran Zinedinov, Islyam Dzhepparov, Dzhevdet Islyamov, Fedir Kostenko, Mukhtar Arislanov, Arsen Aliyev, Ervin Ibrahimov, Eskender Ibraimov, Eskender Apselyamov, Ruslan Haniyev, and Arlen Terekhov.
"The vast majority of these people are pro-Ukrainian activists who openly opposed the Russian occupation," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
Today, the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea provides procedural guidance in 112 criminal cases on 173 facts of enforced disappearance, imprisonment and kidnapping.
In the vast majority of cases, facts have been revealed indicating the involvement of the Russian occupation administration in the disappearances.
Numerous cases of intimidation of relatives of missing persons and witnesses were also recorded. According to OHCHR, the Russian occupation administration does not effectively investigate any of the crimes.
The facts of enforced disappearances of Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar activists in the occupied Crimea are reflected in Ukraine's lawsuit against the Russian Federation in the case of Russia's violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, submitted to the International Court of Justice in 2017, and 11 complaints against Russia submitted to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2018: "Ukraine v. Russia (re Crimea)," applications Nos. 20958/14 and 38334/18.
On January 14, 2021, the ECHR in its judgment declared the complaint "Ukraine v. Russia (re Crimea)" on applications Nos. 20958/14 and 38334/18 partly admissible and established that the Russian Federation had been exercising effective control over Crimea since February 27, 2014.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry demanded that Russia fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, in particular with regard to guaranteeing the right to life, freedom and security of person.
"Ukraine will continue to work with international partners, including members of the Crimea Platform, so that Russia's violations as an occupying power remain in the focus of constant international attention and pressure on Russia intensifies to prevent such crimes and to conduct effective investigations into all cases of enforced disappearances," the ministry quoted First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzheppar as saying.