Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the International Human Rights Commission
Dear Kostiantyn Dmytrovych!
The State Emergency Service of Ukraine, together with the concerned central executive authorities, has reviewed a letter to the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine – the Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, Groysman V.B., on measures to withdraw from the area of anti-terrorist operation (ATO) of foreign mercenaries who are the citizens of the European and Baltic countries, and informs the following.
The proposals, contained in your letter regarding the creation of a humanitarian corridor for the withdrawal of mercenaries from the ATO zone to ensure the withdrawal from the territory of Eastern Ukraine of foreign mercenaries who are citizens of the European and Baltic States and who are fighting on the side of the DNR and LNR: with the purpose to return them to the countries whose citizens they are, are worth noticing and they were practically reflected in the clauses of the Peace Plan of the President of Ukraine P. Poroshenko and the Minsk agreements of September 5, 2014.
The Tripartite Contact Group of representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have agreed on the need for joint measures aimed at implementing the Peace Plan of the President of Ukraine, as stipulated in the Minsk Protocol of September 5, 2014, and provides amnesty to those who voluntarily put down arms and did not commit serious crimes, contains the requirement for the withdrawal of militants and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine.
For the purpose of implementation and practical realization of clauses 2, 5 and 10 of the Peace Plan of the President of Ukraine, fixed by the Tripartite Contact Group, which consists of the representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in the Minsk Protocol of September 5, 2014, as well as prevention of further human victims, restoration of the integral life in these territories, the President of Ukraine submitted to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine a draft law of Ukraine “On prevention of the prosecution and punishment of the persons - participants of the events in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions”, which was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on September 16, 2014 and is currently sent to the President of Ukraine (hereinafter referred to as the “Law”).
Article 1 of the Law provides for exemption from criminal liability of persons who committed within the period between February 22, 2014 and the day of the entry into force of the Law, including in the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, where the anti-terrorist operation was conducted, the actions bearing indications of crimes stipulated by the Criminal Code of Ukraine, and who, during the commission of the said actions, participated in the armed formations, or the persons involved in the activities of such formations, and / or the persons who participated in the activities of self-proclaimed bodies in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, or resisted the anti-terrorist operation.
The above-mentioned persons shall be released from criminal liability, provided that before the expiration of a month from the moment the Law enters into force, they released or don’t hold people hostage, voluntarily transferred to the state bodies or do not keep firearms, armaments, explosives, explosive devices, military equipment, do not occupy the buildings , premises of the state bodies and local self-government bodies, and do not take part in blocking the work of the state authorities, local self-government authorities, enterprises, institutions, organizations in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, about which they filed a corresponding application to the pretrial investigation body that conducts criminal proceedings.
The relevant criminal proceedings shall be closed. The criminal proceedings initiated in connection with the above-mentioned actions, in which no person has been notified of suspicion, shall also be subject to closure.
Meanwhile, Article 5 of the Law states that its action does not apply to the persons specified by part one of Article 1 and Article 2 of this Law, which are: suspects, accused (defendants) and have not committed actions stipulated in part two of Article 1 of this Law, and / or are suspected or accused of committing actions that contain indications of the crimes specified by Articles 112, 113, 115, by part two of Article 121, part two of Article 147, by Articles 149, 152, 153, 187, 201, 258, 297, 348, 349, 379, 400, 442, 443, 444 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, or are convicted of the crimes stipulated by these Articles and / or committed actions that led to the fall of the plane belonging to Malaysia Airlines, MN17 flight, in July 17, 2014 in the Donetsk region, and / or prevented from conducting investigation into this plane crash accident.
The law shall come into force on the day of its publishing.
Clause 10 of the Minsk Agreements contains requirement for the withdrawal of the militants and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine, and the mechanism for the practical implementation of this measure is currently being processed by the relevant authorities.
The Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters on the issues related to the social security of Ukrainian citizens moving from the temporarily occupied territory and areas of the anti-terrorist operation can be involved in the implementation of this measure within the limits of the powers determined by the order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dated June 11, 2014, under No. 588- p. "Issues of social security of Ukrainian citizens moving from the temporarily occupied territory and areas of anti-terrorist operation".