Separatist forces in Ukraine accused of threatening mass ‘executions’

The armed group calling itself the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) must not carry out ‘executions’, including a reported threat of killing prisoners facing life sentences, Amnesty International said today. 

On Friday Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council announced that fighters from the group had seized a penitentiary institution in Donetsk and threatened to kill all prisoners facing life sentences, forcing the others to join their ranks. 

“Killing prisoners is strictly prohibited under the Geneva Conventions, to which all parties must adhere in a time of conflict,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia. 

“If genuine, this threat would demonstrate how desperately lawlessness is spiralling out of control in eastern Ukraine.” 

The DPR introduced what it refers to as a Criminal Code on 17 August, providing the ‘death penalty’ for a number of crimes including treason, looting and espionage. 

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