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DONETSK, January 24. /TASS/. All court authorities will begin working in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) from February 10, the republic’s head, Alexander Zakharchenko, said on Saturday.
“Only technical aspects are outstanding now: the office spaces, equipment, and archives. As the Supreme Court has informed me, by February 10 practically all court authorities will be working in the republic,” the Donetsk press service quoted Zakharchenko.
He said the republic has prepared already a “law on DPR judicial system” and regulations for activities of judges.
Zakharchenko said he had met with judges, “warned them about their responsibility, and stressed briefly that we have the martial law now. I also told them I would be checking every judge’s ten cases every month.”
Combat actions between the Ukrainian military and militias of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics during Kiev’s military operation in the country’s east conducted since mid-April 2014 have claimed over 4,800 lives and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, according to WHO data.
A ceasefire was agreed upon at talks between the parties to the Ukrainian conflict mediated by the OSCE on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.
Two weeks later, on September 20, the Contact Group adopted a memorandum on implementing a ceasefire. The nine-item document includes a ban on all weapons, pulling back heavy weapons from the line of engagement and setting up a buffer zone of 15 kilometres. It also entrusts the OSCE with a task of controlling implementation of the agreements.
On December 9, the parties to the conflict announced “the regime of silence” in the area of Kiev’s combat operation in Donbas aiming to come over to implementation of the Minsk accords.
Both Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics declared an urgency to pull back heavy weapons, to exchange prisoners of war and to demilitarise the region.
On January 16, the Minsk talks of the Contact Group on Ukraine were frustrated because of the situation around the Donetsk airport and the failure to agree the agenda.
In recent days the situation has deteriorated after a passenger bus en route from Donetsk to Zlatoustovka came under shelling on January 13. Twelve civilians were killed and at least 16 wounded. Artillery shelling and bombing strikes at Donbas cities have intensified and dozens of peaceful civilians, including women, children, and the elderly, died in them.
On January 22, a Berlin meeting of foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France has ended with definite shifts rather than with a considerable progress necessary for ceasing fire in war-torn Donbas. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Ukraine’s Pavel Klimkin and France’s Laurent Fabius have succeeded in negotiating a statement on the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of contact stipulated in the Minsk agreements on September 19 as well as on intensifying the Contact Group’s work. Still, the decision to hold a summit in “Normandy format” that Kazakhstan is ready to host has not been taken yet. The joint statement adopted after the meeting says that an appeal for a ceasefire is not implemented while measures to alter the situation are listed.