‘Trials Against Prisoners Of War Is War Crime’ – UN

The United Nations has expressed ‘concern’ after three foreign nationals serving in the Ukranian armed forces were sentenced to death by a court in Russian held Donetsk region of Ukraine.

A court in the pro-Russian, self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) sentenced Moroccan citizen Brahim Saadoune and British citizens Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner to death on Thursday, June 9 after accusing them of being “mercenaries” for Ukraine.

The sentencing has been met by uproar in the West, and the United Nations has now reacted.

The UN says it is “concerned” by the death sentences of the three foreigners in Donetsk, adding that “according to the Chief Command of Ukraine, all men were part of Ukrainian armed forces and, if the case, should not be considered as mercenaries.”

Responding to reporters during a press briefing in Geneva Friday, UN Human Rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said: 

“The UN Human Rights Office is concerned that on 9 June, the so-called ‘supreme court’ of self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ sentenced to death three servicemen from Ukrainian armed forces, but citizens of foreign countries, captured in Mariupol, for being mercenaries and for the attempted seizure of power in the so-called ‘republic’.”

Shamdasani said that since 2015 the UN has observed that “the so-called ‘judiciary’ in self-proclaimed ‘republics’ has not complied with essential fair trial guarantees, such as public hearing, independence and impartiality of the court and the right not to be compelled to testify.

“Such trials against prisoners of war amount to a war crime. In the case of the use of the death penalty, fair trial guarantees are all the more important,” Shamdasani said.

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