UKRAINE: DONETSK SEPARATISTS INTRODUCE DEATH PENALTY FOR TREASON
|A pro-Russian separatist in the Donetsk region
August 18, 2014: Donetsk separatists in eastern Ukraine announced they were setting up military tribunals and bringing in the death penalty.
The self-proclaimed Donetsk Peopleās Republic, or DNR, said it would bring in military tribunals with the right to pass the death sentence for a string of offences including treason, espionage, attempts on the lives of the leadership and sabotage.
The announcement, issued on the Donetskās separatists website, quoted leading rebel officials as saying that other serious violations including looting would also be dealt with harshly.
āIntroducing the death penalty is not revenge, it is the highest degree of social protection,ā a senior separatist leader, Vladimir Antyufeyev, was quoted as saying.
Reports of executions orchestrated by separatists in eastern Ukraine have, for months, been used as a propaganda tool by both sides in the Ukraine conflict, though none of the reports has been independently verified.
In one of the most high-profile incidents to date, a document surfaced in May purportedly showed one of the separatistsā main leaders, Igor Strelkov, had ordered the executions of two DNR militants on charges of looting.
The document apparently showed Strelkov, a Russian citizen also known as Igor Girkin, had based the ruling on a 1941 Stalin-era law introducing capital punishment for theft of property.
A month later, in June, separatist leader Igor āThe Impā Bezler published a video showing two blindfolded Ukrainian army officers apparently being shot to death by a firing squad as a warning to Ukraine government forces. He later dismissed the video as fake. (Sources: Reuters, 18/08/2014) (Sources: Reuters, 18/08/2014)