European Parliament, Strasbourg, 4 October 2023
Your Excellencies, Ombudsman of Ukraine, Ladies and Gentleman,
Thank you very much for the invitation to participate in the meeting and for granting me the opportunity to speak.
Nowadays, Aliaksandr Lukashenka and his regime's higher military and political leadership are committing at least three out of four core international crimes against Ukraine and its nationals.
One of them is the forced displacement of Ukrainian children to Belarus.
Aliaksadr Lukashenka, members of his family, as well as people personally close to him organized a system of transferring of children, in particular orphans, from the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine to Belarus.
The main purpose of transferring these children to Belarus is to carry out an indoctrination program in accordance with the narratives of the “Russian world”. These children are subjected to military, religious and political activities. The program of their stay in Belarus did not include any significant medical aspect. The available evidence shows this.
Aliaksandr Lukashenka as the head of the so-called Union State of Belarus and Russia personally signed documents, providing for the organization of such transferring programs. Only between September 2022 and May 2023, at least 2,100 Ukrainian children aged 6 to 15 from 15 Ukrainian cities, were taken to Dubrava Camp, located in Minsk Region.
During the investigation, our team found that separate transfers of children to Belarus took place as early as 2021. Today, these children are put up for adoption in Russia.
The National Anti-Crisis Management submitted to the International Criminal Court evidence in which not a single case of the displacement of these children falls within the permitted exceptions under international humanitarian law. Thus, all such children are victims of a war crime and, simultaneously, a crime against humanity in the form of forced displacement of the civilian population.
The impunity of Aliaksandr Lukashenka is a challenge to the entire civilized community and the international justice system, with respect precisely to the victims from Ukraine.
In this regard, we consider it critically important to facilitate the ICC to investigate these crimes. The National Anti-Crisis Management submitted to the ICC Article 15 Communication on this matter and is currently working on its update.
There can be no justice for victims from Ukraine until Lukashenka is tried.