During spring-summer of 2014, several villages of Luhansk region have been shelled with tube and rocket artillery from Russia's territory. This is according to the new report drafted by the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR).
The initiators of the report entitled ‘Where did the shells come from? – Investigation of cross-border attacks in eastern Ukraine' have examined ‘10 types of evidence', including the eye-witnesses' accounts, and the field research in Luhansk region.
"During our field work in eastern Ukraine, we interviewed over 45 victims and witnesses over these attacks," said Svitlana Valko, IPHR's Ukraine Field Mission Coordinator. "We carefully studied the first-hand statements that we obtained and compared them with other available evidence, allowing us to draw conclusions about the nature of the attacks and the violations that they involved," she continued.
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Ukraine, Western countries and NATO have repeatedly accused Russia of supplying weapons and personnel to the self-proclaimed republics of the eastern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian authorities have reported that in course of 2014's armed hostilities, attacks on the Ukrainian territory were carried out not only by from the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, but also by the Russian regular forces from the Russian territory.
Although, Kremlin rejects these accusations, Russian authorities do not deny that Russian ‘volunteers' – former soldiers or military personnel on holidays – fight for the self-proclaimed republics in Donbas.
The human rights organization claims that the new report ‘presents evidence of cross-border shelling and cross-border interventions carried out as part of the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, which proves that these hostilities can be qualified as an international armed conflict'. According to the IPHR representatives, this will help victims of the conflict to assert their rights in international courts.
Read also: IPHR submits over 300 testimonies from Donbas victims to Hague court
"It is imperative that the events documented in our report are investigated in a thorough and impartial manner and that those responsible for international crimes are brought to justice," stated Svitlana Valko, IPHR's Ukraine Field Mission Coordinator. "Ensuring accountability is key to efforts to bring about lasting peace in eastern Ukraine," she added.
‘Where did the shells come from?' is not a first report drafted by IPHR, as this organization have transferred at least 300 cases of documented war crimes and crimes against humanity conducted in the eastern Ukraine to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. They are related to both Ukrainian servicemen and militants of the self-proclaimed republics.
In autumn 2016, IPHR plans to submit a number of documents concerning conflict in eastern Ukraine to The Hague Court, comprising the report on the cross-border shelling.