The United Nations said on Friday that the unjust trials of a prisoner of war amounted to war crimes, after three foreigners arrested fighting for Ukraine were sentenced to death by pro-Russian rebels.
The UN Office of Human Rights said it was concerned about the death sentences handed down by pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine on two British citizens and one Moroccan man arrested by Russian troops on Thursday.
UN human rights chief executive Michelle Bachelet’s office said pro-Russian self-proclaimed republics were not complying with necessary fair trial guarantees and trials in such circumstances amounted to prisoners of war and war crimes.
“The UN Office of Human Rights is concerned about the so-called Supreme Court of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, which executed three men,” spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.
Separation authorities ordered the death penalty for Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Saadun Brahim, Russian media reported. Western countries reacted angrily to the death sentences.
“These were foreign nationals arrested in Mariupol as mercenaries. According to the main Ukrainian leadership, all men were part of the Ukrainian armed forces. If that is the case then they should not be considered as mercenaries, ”said Shamdasani.
Since 2014, Kyiv has been fighting a pro-Russian insurgency that has gained control in two separate regions.
“Since 2015, we have noted that the judges, as they are called in these self-proclaimed republics, have not complied with the necessary guarantees of a fair trial,” Shamdasani said.
She said they included public hearings, independence, impartiality of the courts and the right not to be compelled to give evidence.
“Trials like this against prisoners of war are a crime of war,” the spokesman said.
“In the case of the use of the death penalty, fair trial guarantees are even more important.”
Aslin and Pinner were captured by the British in April in Mariupol, a southern Ukrainian port city captured by Russian troops in May after a week-long siege.
They later appeared on Russian television calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to negotiate his release.
Brahim surrendered in March in the eastern Ukrainian town of Volnovakha.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called the phrases “a sham judgment, with no legitimacy”, and a spokesman told Johnson that the sentence violates the rights of prisoners under the Geneva Conventions, which define the fundamental rights of wartime prisoners.
UN issues war crimes warning after death sentences in Ukraine war Source link UN issues war crimes warning after death sentences in Ukraine war