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Places of illegal detention

The armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine led to numerous gross and systemic violations of human rights on the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in particular the establishment of a network of illegal detention places by Ukrainian army and Russia-backed separatists.
International human rights law and international humanitarian law prohibit arbitrary detention. Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, applicable in both international and non-international armed conflicts, requires that persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed ‘hors de combat’ by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, whereas arbitrary deprivation of liberty is not compatible with this requirement. Even though the intensity of the fighting in Eastern Ukraine has decreased in 2015-2016 in comparison with the beginning of the conflict in 2014, arbitrary deprivation of liberty is still a common and widespread practice as of today.

Authors: Volodymyr Shcherbachenko, Ganna Ianova, Olexandr Pavlichenko

Date of publication: September 2016

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