Ukrainian Rights Commissioner removed from post over fakes

Ukrainian Rights Commissioner removed from post over fakes

The ombudsperson, Lyudmila Denisova, has been removed from her post over spreading fakes about Russian forces.

Ukrainian lawmakers voted to remove the nation's human rights commissioner, Lyudmila Denisova, from her post on Tuesday. The official has been accused of failing to perform his duties and spreading unverified information about atrocities committed by Russian troops in Ukraine. Such actions tarnished Ukraine's image, MPs have argued.

Yaroslav Zheleznyak, a member of the Golos Voice faction in the Ukrainian parliament, said that a no-confidence resolution has been supported by 234 lawmakers out of 450 or 52% of the MPs in Verkhovnaya Rada. Denisova had previously been criticized by lawmakers and the Ukrainian media over her failure to execute her duties, especially given the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

A Ukrainian MP, Pavlo Frolov, wrote a Facebook post ahead of Tuesday's vote saying that the ombudsperson had hardly exercised her powers to organize humanitarian corridors or prisoner exchanges. Denisova's duties fell to Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk, who had repeatedly tried to organize humanitarian corridors, he said.

According to Frolov, the ombudswoman's focus was on supposed sex crimes and rape of minors in the occupied territories, which she could not substantiate with evidence only harmed Ukraine. The MP has accused Denisova of spending most of her time abroad as the conflict unfolded.

Instead of traveling to Russia to negotiate prisoner exchanges, Denisova spent her time in the warm and calm cities of Europe, such as Davos, Vienna or Warsaw, Frolov said.

A group of journalists, human rights activists and psychologists slammed Denisova over what they called breach of ethics, and accused her of turning the reports on the alleged sexual crimes committed by Russian troops into a scandalous newsreel style publication.

On Monday, Denisova, who served as Ukraine's ombudsperson since 2018, said she could face a vote of no confidence in the parliament, accusing the administration of President Volodymyr Zelensky of being behind the move. She also claimed at the time that the procedure for her removal would violate the constitution of Ukraine. Under Zelensky's predecessor Petro Poroshenko, who served as the president of Ukraine until May 2019, the human rights commissioner took over her post.

In March, Russian ombudsperson Tatyana Moskalkova called on Denisova to stop the torture of Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian forces. The Russian official cited reports on cases of cruel and inhuman treatment of Russian soldiers in captivity in Ukraine at the time. According to Moskalkova, Denisova told her that there could be no agreements on that matter. On Tuesday, the head of the Russian presidential human rights council, Valery Fadeev, called for Denisova to be put on trial. He said that he can't prove anything to a person whose profession is to lie to the Ukrainian human rights commissioner.