Report on torture and murder of priests in Russia-occupied parts of Ukraine to be presented in the Hague
A report containing accounts of religious harassment in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions will be submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague by a Ukrainian NGO, Truth Hound, UNN reports.
“Together with armed aggression, the Russian Federation has violated a wide range of human rights in Eastern Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula. The Russian attacks are targeted at the freedom of religion and belief as universal human right,” the speakers claim.
They say in May 2014 the so-called Donetsk People's Republic released its constitution, which states: “The leading and dominant faith is the Orthodox faith ... recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)”, therefore the occupation authorities conceal crimes under the guise of law thus legalizing oppression.”
They note that pro-Russian forces are attacking representatives of any denominations other than the Moscow Patriarchate. The report cites some of these cases.
Thus, it is reported that Victor Vonsovich, a priest from Horlivka, was arrested and detained for 10 days. After release, he was threatened with death if he returned to Horlivka. Polish Catholic priest Pavel Vitek was abducted and spent a day in the basement of the building of the so-called Security Service. In 2014, the bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Stepan Menko, was illegally accused of espionage in Donetsk for the USA.
In the currently occupied territory, 30 of the 40 parishes of the Kyiv Patriarchate have ceased their activities.
“This report is to be submitted on June 27, 2019 to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague to investigate crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice,” the organization said.