Instituto de Estudios Políticos y Derecho Público "Dr. Humberto J. La Roche"
de la Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Políticas de la Universidad del Zulia
Maracaibo, Venezuela
Esta publicación cientíca en formato digital es continuidad de la revista impresa
ISSN-Versión Impresa 0798-1406 / ISSN-Versión on line 2542-3185Depósito legal pp
197402ZU34
ppi 201502ZU4645
Vol.39 N° 69
Julio
Diciembre
2021
Recibido el 16/02/2021 Aceptado el 14/05/2021
ISSN 0798- 1406 ~ De si to le gal pp 198502ZU132
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co, los cua les son so me ti dos a la con si de ra ción de ár bi tros ca li fi ca dos.
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Vol. 39, Nº 69 (Julio - Diciembre) 2021, 74-90
IEPDP-Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Políticas - LUZ
Features of detection and obtaining
evidence of war crimes committed in the
context of international armed conict
DOI: https://doi.org/10.46398/cuestpol.3969.04
Tataryn Ihor *
Komissarchuk Yuliia **
Dmytryk Yurii ***
Maistrenko Mariia ****
Rymarchuk Olha *****
Abstract
The scientic article is devoted to a comprehensive
understanding of international legal, procedural, and
organizational problems of investigation of war crimes
committed during the military conict in the south and east of
Ukraine. It develops the author’s concept of investigation of war
crimes committed during the armed conict, scientically substantiated
theoretical provisions and specic patterns that are manifested in the
eld of legal support, organization of investigation, collection of evidence,
methods of investigation of crimes of this type. It is concluded that there
is a need to specify the components of war crimes in national legislation.
Recommendations for further improvement of criminal and criminal
procedure legislation of Ukraine in order to fulll the state’s international
obligations in the eld of international humanitarian law are given.
Keywords: war crimes; investigation; international armed conict:
gathering of evidence; investigative (search) actions.
* Candidate of legal sciences, Associate Professor, Senior teacher at the Department of Criminal
Procedure and Criminalistics, Lviv State University of Internal Aairs, Lviv, Ukraine. ORСID ID:
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9517-2299. Email: ttihor@ukr.net
** Candidate of legal sciences, Associate Professor, Associate Professor at the Department of Criminal
Procedure and Criminalistics, Lviv State University of Internal Aairs, Lviv, Ukraine. ORСID ID:
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5079-334X. Email: juliyakomis@gmail.com
*** Candidate of legal sciences, Associate Professor, Associate Professor of the Department of Operative-
search Activity, Lviv State University of Internal Aairs, Lviv, Ukraine. ORСID ID: https://orcid.
org/0000-0003-3929-3544. Email: tibet@ukr.net
**** Candidate of legal sciences, Senior teacher at the Department of Criminal Procedure and Criminalistics,
Lviv State University of Internal Aairs, Lviv, Ukraine. ORСID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-
6996-7186. Email: justmarisabel2017@gmail.com
***** Candidate of legal sciences, Associate Professor at the Department of Criminal Process, National
Academy of Internal Aairs, Kyiv, Ukraine. ORСID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0062-9645.
Email: olgaRUM@ukr.net
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Vol. 39 Nº 69 (Julio - Diciembre 2021): 74-90
Características de la detección y obtención de pruebas
de crímenes de guerra cometidos en el contexto de un
conicto armado internacional
Resumen
El artículo cientíco está dedicado a una comprensión integral de los
problemas legales, de procedimiento y organizativos internacionales
de la investigación de los crímenes de guerra cometidos durante el
conicto militar en el sur y este de Ucrania. Desarrolla el concepto de
investigación del autor de los crímenes de guerra cometidos durante el
conicto armado, disposiciones teóricas fundamentadas cientícamente
y patrones especícos que se maniestan en el campo del sustento legal,
organización de la investigación, recolección de pruebas, métodos de
investigación de crímenes de este tipo. Se concluye que es necesario
especicar los componentes de los crímenes de guerra en la legislación
nacional de Ucrania. Se dan recomendaciones para seguir mejorando la
legislación de procedimiento penal y penal de Ucrania con el n de cumplir
con las obligaciones internacionales del estado en el campo del derecho
internacional humanitario.
Palabras clave: crímenes de guerra; investigación; conicto armado
internacional; recolección de pruebas; acciones de
investigación (allanamiento).
Introduction
The priority in the use of military force to resolve disputed national-
ethical, religious, political, territorial, economic, and other contradictions
remains among the essential features of modern reality. In ve and a half
millennia of the history of human civilization, there have been about 15,000
wars and armed conicts, in which more than 3.5 billion people have died.
Throughout its history, people have lived in peace for only 292 years, less
than one week every hundred years (Vakhrushev, 1999).
Despite the ratication by the international community of various
conventions on international humanitarian law and the ght against their
violations, as well as their partial implementation and nationally established
criminal liability for war crimes, virtually all wars and armed conicts are
accompanied by the commission of the most serious war crimes.
Almost everywhere in areas of armed conict, there is a violation of
the laws and customs of war, the use of prohibited means and methods
of warfare, related to the violation of the principles of selectivity,
76
Tataryn Ihor, Komissarchuk Yuliia, Dmytryk Yurii, Maistrenko Mariia y Rymarchuk Olha
Features of detection and obtaining evidence of war crimes committed in the context of
international armed conict
proportionality allowed in the process of missile and artillery, and
aviation missile strikes, recruitment, training, nancing and (or) the use
of mercenaries in hostilities, the destruction of settlements, executions in
the form of premeditated killings for political, ideological, racial, national,
religious hatred or enmity, torture and other inhuman treatment and
other atrocities which are inherently cruel. All the crimes mentioned above
cannot remain unpunished.
Unfortunately, a signicant part of criminal oenses remains
unpunished, and those responsible for them are not prosecuted using state
sovereignty. At the same time, the legal prospects for punishing criminals
are not entirely clear (Grigoryan, 2018). Personnel policy and gaps in the
manning of the defense forces are also acute problems. A critical factor is
the shortcomings in the ght against corruption in management and the
executive branch, as evidenced by the resonant scandals in law enforcement
agencies and the defense industry (Corruption in Defense – continuation –
Argument, 2019).
The confrontation in Donbas is one of the key challenges to Ukraine’s
national security. Despite the declared ceasere, the Ukrainian military
suers daily casualties. Thus, the problem of criminal prosecution of
representatives of the military-political leadership and individual servicemen
for committing war crimes during the armed conict initiated and provoked
by the aggressor is relevant for both Ukraine and other countries. Several
organizational and tactical issues related to the investigation of crimes in
this category also need to be addressed.
1. Methodology of the study
A comprehensive study of war crimes is possible only by combining
dierent methodological studies. The general scientic methods used in
the scientic article include a dialectical method, a deductive and a system
method, methods of analysis and synthesis.
The dialectical method of scientic cognition is a general and universal
method of forming legal concepts, it is a cognitive strategy that aims to
identify the causes, origins, and consequences of the studied phenomena,
their internal contradictions, connections, and relationships with other
phenomena. With the help of this method, it became possible to learn the
content of such categories as “war crimes”, “armed conict”, “gathering
evidence” and others. Methods of analysis and synthesis allowed to select
and analyze information on the research topic.
The essence of the system method is that the process of investigating war
crimes is considered as a certain system, which is included in the system of
77
CUESTIONES POLÍTICAS
Vol. 39 Nº 69 (Julio - Diciembre 2021): 74-90
a broader order, performs certain functions, and is associated with various
connections. The systematic approach provided an opportunity to analyze
investigative and judicial practice, criminal cases, decisions of the European
Court of Human Rights in war crimes cases.
Special scientic methods used in writing a scientic article include a
hermeneutic, a formal-legal method, modeling and forecasting, sociological
and statistical methods.
The application of the hermeneutic method allowed to qualitatively
analyze and clarify the content of legal documents, including the provisions
of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and the Criminal Procedure Code of
Ukraine, which regulate the relevant legal relations in the study area. The
formal-legal method was used to formulate and interpret legal concepts
and categories. Sociological and statistical methods are used in the process
of studying the materials of criminal proceedings and generalization of
scientic results, the study of law enforcement practice. Modeling and
forecasting methods were used to formulate proposals for improving certain
provisions of the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine.
Thus, the author’s methodology of this study is a set of methods and
techniques based on a dialectical analysis of legal documents, empirical
data, as well as a critical understanding of the scientic literature on this
issue.
2. Analysis of the recent research
Some theoretical and practical aspects of criminal liability, procedures
for investigating war crimes committed in armed conict were considered
in the works of such scientists as Schwarzenberger G. (1968), Furkalo
V.V. (1982), Raskaley S.B. (1985), Belyy I. Yu. (2004), Simpson G. (2007),
Grigoryan G.M. (2009), Eliseev R.A. (2011), Skuratova A.Yu. (2012),
Mokhonchuk S.M. (2014), Rusinova V.N (2015), Mykhaylenko V.S (2017),
Koval D.O. and Avramenko R.A. (2019), Mazur M.V. (2020), Tkachenko
P.I. (2020), Chervyakova, O.V. (2020), and other authors.
However, there are some issues that need comprehensive analysis and
coverage. In particular, the issues of legislative regulation of legal relations
in the context of international armed conict, including the criminalization
of certain illegal acts, need an additional solution. It is necessary to improve
methodological approaches to the evaluation of legal programs and
the entire legal system in Ukraine, interpretation of the decisions of the
European Court of Human Rights, their use in investigative and judicial
practice (Matvieieva et al., 2021). It is also indisputable that certain tactical
and procedural “tools” for the investigation of war crimes committed in the
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Tataryn Ihor, Komissarchuk Yuliia, Dmytryk Yurii, Maistrenko Mariia y Rymarchuk Olha
Features of detection and obtaining evidence of war crimes committed in the context of
international armed conict
context of an international armed conict must be properly disclosed from
the standpoint of forensic science and criminal procedure.
3. Results and discussion
Given that war crimes can only be committed in the course of or in
connection with an armed conict, it would be logical to clarify its nature.
Undoubtedly, armed conict in all its manifestations is a deformation of
social relations, accompanied by sharp contradictions, widespread use of
weapons, the declining value of human life, rising levels of violence and
other crime, which is the root cause of war crimes.
An international armed conict occurs when an attack on the territory of
a state is carried out by another state, or by non-governmental formations
under the control of another state. In this case, the international armed
conict begins to be used after the rst shot against the territory of a state or
crossing the border by the armed forces of another state. The conict will also
be considered international if the third country has at least general control
over non-governmental armed groups. An occupation of the territory of
another state is equated to an armed conict of an international character,
even if such an occupation does not meet with armed resistance (Koval and
Avramenko, 2019).
The investigation of war crimes committed by participants in an armed
conict is usually carried out in a combat situation caused by hostilities
in areas of armed conict (Grigoryan G., pp. 33-36). Inuencing all
aspects of life, the combat situation aects the investigation of war crimes,
complicating a number of destructive factors in the process of detection,
detection and investigation of war crimes, identifying specically stable
links, dependencies, relationships and trends in this area.
Based on this, it can be argued that there are specic patterns of
investigation of war crimes committed in the eastern and southern
territories of Ukraine in the context of international armed conict.
According to S.V. Malikov, there are two directions of inuence of
negative factors caused by the armed conict on the organization and
methods of investigation of war crimes: direct inuence on its organization
and methods, as well as inuence through the special nature of war crimes
committed in armed conict (Malikov, 1998).
The process of investigating war crimes is also aected by the negative
factors caused by the international armed conict:
national, ethnic, religious, or territorial causes of armed conict, as
well as often rather “vague” denition of the parties to the conict’s
purpose;
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ignorance and unwillingness of political leaders and the command
of the parties to the conict to adhere to the norms of international
law;
Insucient objective information about the armed conict, mutual
distrust of the opposing parties and the operation of a set of
unproven and sometimes “senseless” accusations;
the use of political means by political leaders, military command
and media representatives of opposing parties with the use of
euphemisms (liquidation, cleansing, action, operation, etc.), which
mask the real goals and use of prohibited means and methods of
hostilities by the parties;
a pronounced division of society into supporters of the relevant side
of the conict;
justication by the opposing parties of the criminal actions of their
armed supporters or combatants by the circumstances and military
necessity, by reference to the actions of the opponent’s country;
ignorance by combatants of the opposing parties of the norms
of international law and national norms of the Criminal Code,
condence in impunity, lack of eective sanctions by the command
to subordinates;
Insucient advocacy and information of the public, government
agencies and ocials, marginalization and stigmatization of victims;
increasing the level of public danger of war crimes committed by the
parties to an armed conict, as well as their consequences;
the emergence of crimes that encroach on specic legal relations
arising in connection with an armed conict (in a combat situation,
on the battleeld, in the area of hostilities);
committing serious violent crimes against representatives of the
opponent’s country out of revenge;
the dependence of the level of a war crime on the duration, intensity,
scale of the armed conict, its economic and political consequences,
as well as the number of dead; n) the number and scale of war
crimes, as well as the steady increase in the level of war crime;
the response of war crime to the military successes or failures of
another party to the conict, as well as the high level of articially
latent war crime;
the response of war crime to the military successes or failures of
another party to the conict, as well as the high level of articially
latent war crime;
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Tataryn Ihor, Komissarchuk Yuliia, Dmytryk Yurii, Maistrenko Mariia y Rymarchuk Olha
Features of detection and obtaining evidence of war crimes committed in the context of
international armed conict
a signicant number of crimes directly or indirectly related to the
presence of weapons in the warring parties, as well as the use of
modern methods and means of remote control of hostilities;
committing war crimes in a state of alcohol or drug intoxication.
Of course, in order to eliminate or minimize the consequences of the
above negative factors for the investigation of war crimes committed in the
context of international armed conict, it is necessary to take measures to
improve information policy to prevent violations of international law.
War crimes are one of the most serious and serious crimes known to
mankind. Under international law, the state in which war crimes are
committed (Nazarchuk, 2020) is the most active in conducting investigations
and bringing perpetrators to justice. However, at present, Ukraine is not
always able to adequately respond to hostilities in the temporarily occupied
and adjacent territories. For example, in the Criminal Code of Ukraine, in
addition to Art. 438, there are no detailed rules that determine the illegality
of certain actions in a military conict. There is also no explanation of
what war crimes are, which are light, medium, severe, and the degree of
responsibility. This problem needs a comprehensive solution. Some lawyers
rightly consider the adoption of the law on transitional justice (Bida, 2021)
to be a way out of this situation.
Objective principles of determining the grounds for the application
(criminalization) or refusal to apply (decriminalization) of criminal law
inuence should be recognized as a constant problem of criminal law
(Kozachenko et al., 2021). It must be stated that those guilty of committing
most war crimes today, unfortunately, manage to avoid criminal prosecution.
One of the reasons is the imperfection of the legislation and its inconsistency
with international norms. Current Art. 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine
(“Violation of the laws and customs of war”) is quite generalized, so there
is an obvious need to specify the composition of war crimes in national law,
dening all serious violations of international humanitarian law as war
crimes. Thus, there is an obvious need to specify the components of war
crimes in national legislation (Nazarchuk, 2020).
Thus, the realities of today in the East and South of Ukraine indicate
the imperfection of certain provisions of the Criminal Code of Ukraine,
in particular the lack of legal norms that would correspond to the socially
dangerous act committed in the area of the anti-terrorist operation.
Currently, there is an urgent need to revise the sections of sections XIX-XX
of the Code in order to include in their composition the rules that would
provide for criminal liability for all actions against the interests of the
people of Ukraine.
In our opinion, for the eective work of the institutions of executive
power in Ukraine in this direction, there are not enough legislative tools
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that would promote more constructive work and increase responsibility
and accountability for actions and measures taken that would be: expected
signals for citizens of Ukraine in the occupation or were forced to leave
the occupied territory; signals for collaborators and violators of the