Human Rights Activists Call to Determine the Legal Status of Volunteer Battalions

Members of volunteer battalions, after the end of military operations, risk becoming defendants in cases. Indeed, their status depends entirely on the position which the authority takes up regarding them. To avoid this danger, rights advocates propose to consider the issue of legalization of battalions by law.

Today, members of battalions may be faced with the fact that they will be accused of evasion of military service, because in accordance with the papers, they are still on the list of conscripts. After all, they certainly do not have any documents confirming their location. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has not developed yet a procedure for granting the status of a participant in military operations.

Those who now defend the interests of Ukraine may come across extremely negative consequences when peace comes around. Needless to remind you how quickly changes the vane of love to those in power. Participants of countless battalions that grow like mushrooms often have no official status and powers. In this regard, many different questions arise: from privileges and payments to the legitimacy of using force and weapons. No one is immune to violation of criminal proceedings after the war, which is even not exactly a war,” – indicates Kseniya Prokonova, an Attorney-at-law of Legal Security of Business at AA “Juscutum”. She warns that practically on paper, all injuries of ATO participants can be equated to the injuries of a “knife-fight” participant after excessive alcohol intake.

Volunteers declare that they are going to fight not for the benefits and privileges. However, this does not exempt the state from obligations arising in the event of injury or death of the participant of the volunteer battalion.

Mykhailo Tarahkalo, Director on Strategic Affairs of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, points out: “If Ukraine recognizes on its territory the activities of volunteer battalions, it must bear responsibility for their actions both to third parties and to the participants of these battalions and their families”.

Lawyer Oleh Veremeenko, to whom the militants of battalions have requested legal assistance, is convinced that the battalions must be legalized as soon as possible. Indeed, there is such a situation now that participants of battalions do not wish to fight under the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, whose representatives often do not have an unimpeachable reputation. Such refusal eliminates their ability to legally obtain weapons to fight with terrorists. And any fact of obtaining, usage or transportation of weapons can be used against them.

Also, according to Oleh Veremeenko, even now there are problems with showing evidence that the injury or death of a soldier took place during the time of residence in the area of ATO. And this means that no compensation or treatment to neither participants of battalions nor their families will be given.

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