Families of prisoners of war from Mariupol Azovstal plant call on the United Nations (UN) to apply effective and urgent mechanisms to investigate the terrorist attack in the colony in Olenivka, Donetsk region, since 40 days have passed.
“Only 25 days after the tragedy in Olenivka, the UN created a group to investigate the terrorist attack in this colony. The UN Secretary General announced that he had decided to send a mission to identify and establish the facts of the tragedy. However, the representative of the Secretary General said the mission could not yet begin an investigation, since the situation at the scene remains unsafe for their representatives to visit. Establishing a mission without access to the crime scene will not help achieve justice. We call on the UN to apply really effective and urgent mechanisms for investigating Olenivka terrorist attack and to force Russia to comply with international humanitarian law,” Head of the Council of Wives and Mothers of the Defenders of Ukraine “Women of Steel,” the wife of a Ukrainian prisoner of war Natalia Zarytska said.
According to Hanna Kalynchuk, a lawyer providing legal support to the families of Ukrainian prisoners of war, the goals of this UN mission are still unclear.
“All we have heard is that the UN mission will potentially and someday be able to record the facts of a crime. Although, according to the UN Secretary General himself, the mission is not empowered to collect evidence, but solely to establish specific facts. It is clear what purpose the UN mission will pursue in the fact-finding procedure,” Kalynchuk said.
At the same time, she said the inability of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to use all the tools at their disposal to access the site of the tragedy in Olenivka in the future could lead to Russia fabricating evidence of its innocence during this time.
“Today, there are only statements by the ICRC that they are not allowed there [to Olenivka]. But this denial in real life has the following: the ICRC simply sends a request, the so-called ‘DPR’ does not respond to it. The ICRC is regarded as an inadmissibility. However, the ICRC actually does not even stay in that area. That is: we see the inability of the ICRC to use all the tools in their hands,” the lawyer said.
“In the future, this may turn into a situation where Russia fabricates evidence of non-participation in the crime in 40 days and makes it impossible to bring it to justice in the future,” she said.
According to the co-founder of the Council of Wives and Mothers of the Defenders of Ukraine “Women of Steel” and the mother of a Ukrainian prisoner of war, Natalia Kravtsova, within 40 days from the moment of the incident in Olenivka, the families of Ukrainian defenders did not receive a single answer from international organizations about the number of dead, wounded and circumstances tragedy.