presence of one or several guards, and therefore remained extremely limited. The Special
Rapporteur regrets to report that, despite the formal and timely announcement of the entire
delegation, the prison authorities in Donetsk arbitrarily denied access to a human rights
officer who was an official member of his team.
In view of the restrictions imposed on the Special Rapporteur’s visits to places of
detention controlled by the de facto authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk, the Special
Rapporteur wishes to stress that he agreed to conduct these visits on an absolutely exceptional
basis only, taking into consideration a multitude of factors including, most notably: (a) the
fact that these places of detention were not under the control of the authorities of Ukraine or
any other internationally recognized State having extended an official invitation to his
mandate; (b) the prolonged lack of access to such places of detention by other international
monitoring mechanisms such as the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the human rights monitoring mission in
Ukraine, and even the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); and (c) the resulting
lack of reliable information on the whereabouts, living conditions and treatment of thousands
of persons held in such places of detention. The Special Rapporteur’s decision to conduct the
visits under the given circumstances constituted an exceptional measure of confidencebuilding tailored to the Ukrainian context and does not reflect any intention to deviate from
the official terms of reference of his mandate.1
In preparing his official visit to Ukraine, the Special Rapporteur sought access to the
Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (hereinafter Crimea) on the basis
of General Assembly resolutions 68/262, 71/205 and 72/190. 2 Having received the
authorization of the Ukrainian authorities, he also sought the concurrence of the authorities
of the Russian Federation for the delegation to visit Crimea. The Russian Federation
responded positively to the request but requested that such access take place in accordance
with the procedures required for an official visit to the national territory of the Russian
Federation. Therefore, he regrets to report that he was unable to visit Crimea in the framework
of his visit to Ukraine.

II. Situation in government-controlled territory

Legal framework


International and regional level
Ukraine has ratified most international human rights treaties relevant to the
prohibition and prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment (24 February 1987), the Optional Protocol to the
Convention against Torture (19 September 2006) and the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights (12 November 1973). Since 12 September 2003, Ukraine has accepted
the inquiry procedure and the individual complaints procedure under the Convention against
Furthermore, Ukraine has ratified the Geneva Conventions relating to the protection
of victims of international armed conflicts (3 August 1954) and their Protocols additional to
1977 (25 January 1990). While Ukraine is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International
Criminal Court, on 17 April 2014 the Government lodged a declaration under article 12 (3)
of the Rome Statute, accepting the Court’s jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed on the
territory of Ukraine from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014 (the Maidan events). On 8
September 2015, the Government of Ukraine submitted a second declaration under article 12
(3) of the Rome Statute, accepting the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court in relation to


See https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/TermsOfReference.aspx.
“See United Nations General Assembly resolution 71/205 of 19 December 2016 referring to Crimea
as occupied by the Russian Federation; and resolution 72/190 of 19 December 2017 and 73/263 of
December 22, 2018, urging the Russian Federation to comply with its obligations as an occupying
power in Crimea”,

Select target paragraph3