State does not have clear understanding of who war victims are – Alena Lunova

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After almost 10 years of Russia’s war against Ukraine, there is no definition in the legislation of who can be considered war victims. This affects the policy of compensating the injured Ukrainians. 

Alena Lunova  

Alena Lunova, Advocacy Director at the Human Rights Centre ZMINA, noted this during the Civil Society Development Forum on December 5. 

According to the sociological research conducted by the Rating group at the end of October, which Lunova referred to, for the population of Ukraine, the concept of justice regarding Russia’s war against Ukraine means punishing the guilty, establishing the truth, and compensating the war victims. 

It has not yet been determined at the national level who the “victims” of the armed aggression are. And this becomes a problem when it comes to compensation for damage, in particular non-property damage (damage to life and health), which was caused by the war. 

According to research, the population of Ukraine considers that the key categories of victims are family members of those killed, prisoners, persons who suffered physical damage and those who lost their homes. However, there is currently no dialogue in society about the prioritization of compensation for damage – but such a conversation is necessary because we understand that resources are limited, and some categories of the victims need immediate compensation,” Lunova says. 

She also noted that Ukrainians had a request for speedy justice and punishment of all war criminals. 

To date, more than 114,000 proceedings over war crimes and the crime of aggression have been opened. It is important to understand that the Ukrainian judicial and law enforcement systems will not be able to close all cases and punish all the guilty. The state will be forced to respond to the request for speedy justice with quick court decisions. Because of this, there is a high risk of a decrease in the quality of such decisions, and therefore trust in them,” Lunova believes. 

At the same time, in her opinion, it is equally important to record all war crimes so that Ukrainian society knows the truth about the crimes and those who committed them. 

Background. The Civil Society Development Forum is the largest national platform for training, communicating and exchanging experience in the field of organizational development of charity and non-governmental organizations. For the first time, the Organizational Development Forum was held in 2012, and since then, the number of participants and the amount of public attention to the forum has been growing every year. This year, the 12th annual forum was held under the slogan “What will give us strength”, you can watch broadcasts of the forum events here.