The Geneva Council, an independent news organization committed to promoting human rights and transparency, reports on the recent decisive action taken by the European Union (EU) in addressing serious human rights violations within the Russian Federation and the territories of Ukraine that have faced temporary occupation by Russia.
In a significant move that underscores their dedication to safeguarding human rights, the EU Council has imposed restrictive measures on six individuals directly responsible for egregious human rights abuses. These violations extend to the curtailment of freedom of opinion and expression, striking at the very core of democratic principles.
The individuals singled out for these sanctions include prosecutors and judges actively involved in courts established under Russia’s occupying authority in Crimea, which was unlawfully annexed. Notably, they played instrumental roles in orchestrating politically motivated legal proceedings against Vladyslav Yesypenko, a journalist who received a harsh six-year prison sentence, and Nariman Dzhelyalov, a member of the Crimean Tatar community.
These actions underscore a deeply troubling trend, wherein the Russian regime exploits the justice system as a means to perpetrate grave human rights violations. The judiciary, far from being independent, is systematically abused to suppress the voices and rights of those who oppose the ruling regime, particularly by quashing freedom of opinion and expression.
Furthermore, among the individuals now subject to EU restrictive measures are two members of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB). Their involvement ranges from direct participation in the torture of Vladyslav Yesypenko to conducting investigations concerning him and other members of the Crimean Tatar community, as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses in Crimea.
The EU’s action brings the total number of individuals and entities subjected to restrictive measures under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime to 67 individuals and 20 entities. These measures include asset freezes, prohibiting EU citizens and companies from providing funds to these entities or individuals. Additionally, natural persons are subject to travel bans, effectively preventing their entry or transit through EU territories.
The European Union, in line with international norms and principles, steadfastly rejects Russia’s unlawful attempts to annex the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, and portions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions of Ukraine. These actions blatantly contravene international law, including the UN Charter. The EU remains firmly committed to upholding Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its universally recognized borders and is unwavering in its policy of non-recognition regarding these illegitimate annexations.
The Geneva Council expresses its deep concern regarding the ongoing deterioration of the human rights situation in the territories of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia, within the broader context of Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine. The Geneva Council stands resolutely alongside the European Union in its commitment to defending human rights and promoting accountability for those who violate them.