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Russia must immediately release Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian citizens, abducted from Ukraine's territory and illegally detained in Russia
06 March 2015 17:09

Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine, delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 5 March 2015

Mr. Chairman,

We profoundly regret that so far the Russian side has failed to implement its commitments undertaken in Minsk on 12 February and release Nadiya Savchenko and all other illegally detained persons and hostages within 19 days.

On 03 March, President of Ukraine Poroshenko, German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande reiterated their call on the Russian President to immediately release people’s deputy of Ukraine and member of the Permanent Delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe N.Savchenko.

The Savchenko’s continued illegal detention by the Russian Federation constitutes also a clear violation of Russia’s obligations as a Council of Europe member-state and a party to a number of international conventions, as N.Savchenko enjoys international diplomatic immunities and is exempted from arrest and prosecution as PACE member.

The kidnapping of the Ukrainian citizens, their illegal transfer across the Ukrainian-Russian state border, and their further placement in detention to face trumped-up charges constitute a blatant violation of universal norms and principles of international law in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Their criminal prosecution is illegitimate.

We urge the Russian authorities to release them immediately and provide a safe return to Ukraine.

Dear colleagues,

For already 83 days Nadiya Savchenko continues a hunger strike in protest against the illegal actions of the Russian authorities. She stated that any attempt to forcefeed her would be considered as a form of torture. Savchenko’s health is in an extremely critical state. In addition to cardiovascular failure that was diagnosed, she has serious problems with internal organs. The glucose injections have led to an inflammation of veins, making it impossible to continue injections. According to doctors’ assessment, the dates of 6-8 March 2015 are considered as a “point of no return”, which could lead to Savchenko’s disability or death.

We are extremely alarmed that today, in view of Russia’s illegal and inhumane actions, we are facing not only a matter of Savchenko’s release, but of saving her life.

We note a remarkable manifestation of support and unity to free Savchenko expressed by international community, civil society and human rights institutions, including those in Russia.

Most recently, the Belgian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe emphasized that “Ms. Savchenko should benefit from the guarantees offered by the relevant instruments of the Council of Europe, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights” and called on Russia to respect its commitments and to release without any delay Nadia Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens that are illegally detained in Russia. The PACE President, for her part, again made an appeal and asked the Russian authorities to make a humanitarian gesture to save Savchenko’s life.

The Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation added its voice in support of Savchenko’s case by urging the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation to replace the current detention by other form of preventive measure.

We urge the Russian side to fully implement its commitments, as well as give due attention to numerous calls of Ukraine, international community, civil society and human rights institutions by taking immediate steps to release the people’s deputy of Ukraine and member of the Permanent Delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the PACE Nadiya Savchenko.

Mr. Chairman,

We reiterate that the entire responsibility for the life and health of Nadiya Savchenko lies with Russia, which abducted Savchenko in Ukraine and has illegally detained her for over 8 months.

We regard as a mockery of justice the 4th March decision of the Moscow’s Basmanny District Court to dismiss Savchenko’s complaint on refusal to attend the meeting of the PACE, as well as investigators’ statement that prosecution is not required to request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia whether Savchenko possesses or not the diplomatic immunity.

Let me stress that in accordance with article 3 (Chapter 1) of the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation “Application of the Criminal Procedural Law with Respect to Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons”, the procedural actions stipulated by this Code with respect to persons having immunity against such actions in accordance with the generally recognised principles and norms of international law and international treaties of the Russian Federation, shall be carried out with agreement of the foreign state at whose service is or was a person having immunity, or of the international organisation a member of whose personnel they are or were. Information as to whether the relevant person has immunity and on the volume of such immunity, shall be submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.In this regard I would like to ask my distinguished Russian colleague whether such information regarding the immunities of N.Savchenko, was provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as stipulated by the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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