Separatist regions in Ukraine set up war crimes tribunal

27 April 2018 by Maxence Peniguet (Moscow)

Citizens of the separatist regions in Eastern Ukraine have created a court to try those responsible for war crimes allegedly committed by government forces. Civil society groups have dismissed it as a “political show”.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, the main focus of the Ukrainian People's Tribunal (Photo: Flickr/Oleg Dubnya)
Image caption: 
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, the main focus of the Ukrainian People's Tribunal (Photo: Flickr/Oleg Dubnya)

Images show a sizable audience in a seemingly makeshift courtroom. Floodlights light up the scene for the many television cameras. And a fancy red logo announces this is the Ukrainian People’s Tribunal for investigating war crimes of Petro Poroshenko’s regime or UPT for short. The images were taken by the Donetsk Press Agency (DAN) earlier in April. The court sits in Donetsk, capital of the Donetsk People’s Republic, a separatist statelet in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region.

Since the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces started in March 2014, some 10.000 people have lost their lives. The International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a preliminary examination into the events in Ukraine, a first step to a possible official investigation. In its latest report on the state of the probe, the ICC prosecutor says it “has recorded more than 1,200 incidents involving crimes allegedly committed since 20 February 2014 in the context of events in eastern Ukraine”.  

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