top of page

Terrible tragedy

On December 4, the tragic story of a 15-year-old Ukrainian girl Arina Yatsuk and her family was published. Arina and her parents were killed by the Russian military during the invasion of Ukraine from Belarus.

According to Arina's younger sister who managed to survive, she was still alive but severely wounded in the thigh when she was taken by the Russian military, supposedly for treatment in Belarus.

Arina Yatsuk
The deceased 15-year-old Arina Yatsuk. Photo from social media

Arina's fate remained unknown for almost two years, as her relatives tirelessly searched for information. The truth was finally revealed when her body was exchanged and returned to Ukraine. It had been in the morgue in Mozyr all that time and was identified through DNA analysis.

The Lukashenko regime's behavior in this matter is reprehensible. Despite inquiries sent to them and the Belarusian Red Cross Society, they failed to provide any information about Arina's fate. This further highlights the lack of respect for human rights in Belarus. The Lukashenko regime disregarded Arina Yatsuk's right to dignity, neglected to investigate the cause of her death, despite clear indications that Arina died as a result of an unlawful attack on civilians, and failed to notify her grieving relatives who held onto hope that she was still alive. The question arises: can the perpetrators be brought to justice?

Firstly, Arina, along with her parents and many others who lost their lives during the Russian invasion in Northern and Central Ukraine, are victims of the crime of aggression committed by Lukashenko and the top military-political leadership of his regime. If Lukashenko had not allowed the territory of Belarus to be used for the Russian invasion, it is likely that Arina and her parents would still be alive today. Lukashenko could be held responsible for this crime if a special tribunal is established to address the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

Secondly, Arina's relatives are also victims of the crime of enforced disappearance. This crime involves depriving relatives of information about the fate of the disappeared person and is committed with the involvement of government agencies, in this case, those controlled by Lukashenko. Such a crime may constitute a crime against humanity, falling under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.


bottom of page