20 April 2015
Monsieur Joachim Rücker
Président du Conseil des droits de l’homme
Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies aux droits de l’homme Genève
Dear Mr. Joachim Rucker,
The World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations asks for the help Mr. Joachim Rücker, the President of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland with regard to the case of Lt. Nadiya Savchenko. Lt. Savchenko is a Ukrainian pilot and member of a Ukrainian volunteer battalion, who was captured by Russian separatists during armed conflict in eastern Ukraine in June 2014. She was transported to, and currently is being held in, Russia. She has been on a hunger strike for over 4 months in protest of her unlawful imprisonment.
According to an Open Dialog Foundation (ODF) document, Nadiya Savchenko has been subjected to treatment that is in violation of international human rights laws, specifically:
- Nadiya Savchenko has been deprived of her freedom and of the right for defense.
- Between 23 to 30 June, Nadiya Savchenko was abducted by Russian government forces with the assistance of Russian separatists, forcibly taken out of Ukraine and subsequently kept in detention under armed guard in the city of Voronezh, Russia.
- Initial interrogations of Savchenko by representatives of the Russian intelligence services were conducted in the absence of a lawyer.
- In an effort to humiliate her and show off their prize captive, Russian separatists posted a video of the first interrogation of Savchenko, showing her with both arms behind her back, handcuffed to a metal structure.
- After subsequent interrogations, Savchenko was charged with the murder of two Russian civilians, journalists who entered the area of armed conflict voluntarily and died as a result of the bombing in the area.
- Savchenko, as a citizen of another state, was deprived of the right to diplomatic protection.
- As a means of exerting pressure on Savchenko, Russian investigators use the selective isolation of the pilot and have implemented a ban on the transfer of books in the Ukrainian language to her.
- Threats against Savchenko’s family members in Ukraine and sanctions against her lawyers in Russia have been used by Russian authorities.
- Court hearings are held without the personal presence of Nadiya Savchenko.
- Nadia Savchenko is a hostage of the Russian authorities, and in essence, a political prisoner.
The ODF report further stated that “according to international law (the draft of the ‘Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind’ of 1996, ‘Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court’ of 1998, ‘International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance‘ of 2006), kidnapping of people is a crime against humanity.”
We are concerned and distressed at the illegal kidnapping and continued incarceration of Nadiya Savchenko and her treatment.
This persecution is not impartial – it is in violation of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. WFUWO trusts that your intervention will help achieve the immediate release of Nadiya Savchenko, who has been on a hunger strike for more than four months.
We request the United Nations Human Rights Commission to use its influence in this matter to assure that the authorities cease the criminal prosecution of Nadiya Savchenko, as it is politically motivated and is not based on an adequate evidence base. Her trials are not impartial, which is a violation of the requirements of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. She should be released immediately.
And finally, we are appealing to your office to visit Nadiya Savchenko, review her case, and in view of the aforementioned provisions of the Third Geneva Convention, advocate on her behalf in order to secure her immediate release.
Irene Orysia Sushko, C.M.