Ukrainian Justice Tested As Collaboration Cases Mount


Ukrainian justice tested as collaboration cases mount

Dnipro, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 12th Feb, 2024) Standing in a glass-walled dock in a courtroom in eastern Ukraine, suspected collaborator Oksana Shepel pleaded with a judge to free her.

"I have no previous convictions, a permanent place of residence, strong social ties and an underage child," she argued, her face pale and her long hair with grown-out bleached ends.

The hearing in a grey low-rise court building in the city of Dnipro is one of thousands of cases of various forms against Ukrainians accused of collaborating with the Russian occupiers.

Similar to trials held across Europe after World War II, the cases also highlight the complexities of meting out justice in parts of the country where residents historically have had split loyalties to Kyiv and Moscow.

They are being seen as a test of the justice system amid concern from some observers over fairness and illustrate the moral dilemmas faced by people who have lived under occupation.

The Prosecutor General's Office has registered over 7,000 cases of collaboration and several thousand more on similar charges.

The number will rise exponentially if Ukraine succeeds in its aim of re-capturing the roughly 20 percent of its territory in Russian hands.

There have been verdicts in 941 collaboration cases, the UN rights office OHCHR said in December, cautioning that some of those convicted had "worked for the benefit of the local population".