Nils Muižnieks calls for “effective investigation” of Crimea’s human rights abuses

Human rights commissioner Nils Muižnieks wants “an effective investigation” of allegations of arbitrary detention, killings, enforced disappearances and severe physical ill-treatment in Crimea.

According to Muižnieks, some of the allegations implicate the ‘Samo-oborona’ (Self-Defence) units, whose status, right to bear weapons, and functions remain unclear.

“It is crucial to conduct an effective investigation into possible violations of the right to life and the prohibition against torture and to ensure accountability for the perpetrators. Impunity is incompatible with human rights principles.

“Moreover, victims and their families should be involved in the investigation and are entitled to information on the progress and outcome thereof.”

Following his 7 – 12 September visits to Kyiv, Moscow and Simferopol, the Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed claims that Crimean Tatars suffered frequent intrusive searches of religious institutions, businesses and private homes.

The alleged searches were carried out by masked groups with automatic weapons who said they were looking for prohibited items, including weapons and so-called “extremist literature.” Muižnieks said: “Such actions are clearly disproportionate and create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.”

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