Religious freedom and the rule of law in Ukraine during the war


  • Ihor Onyshchuk


religious freedom, freedom of worldview, religion, rule of law, intolerance, discrimination, war crime, international humanitarian law.


The purpose of the article consists in the analysis and evaluation of the state of religious freedom and the rule of law in the conditions of the Russian-Ukrainian war from doctrinal, theoretical-legal and practical positions.
The novelty of the article consists in the characteristic of preservation of human rights and non-discrimination as criteria of the rule of law. The rule of law and religious freedom are closely related. It is shown that law, in addition to legislation, also covers such social regulators as moral norms, traditions, customs, etc., which are legitimized by society and determined by the historically achieved cultural level of society. It is substantiated that the human right to freedom of religion or belief embodies the dual aspects of the obligation both to ensure the absence of discrimination or intolerance on the basis of religion or belief, and to protect the freedom of religion or belief itself.
In order to argue that Russia carries out acts of violence directed against people based on their religion or beliefs, restricts religious freedom and commits war crimes on the territory of Ukraine, the results of research by the Institute of Religious Freedom for 2022-2023 and the Razumkov Center are given.
Conclusions. As a result of Russian aggression, millions of Ukrainian believers found themselves in the status of internally displaced persons or refugees. Forced migration complicates the realization of religious freedom. In the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions occupied by Russia, religious freedom has disappeared, because most religious communities have ceased to exist, Russia is destroying the spiritual heritage of Ukraine with rocket attacks, shelling and looting of religious buildings, which cannot be justified by military necessity. Russia’s war crimes testify to the presence of genocidal intent aimed at the destruction of the Ukrainian people. And this is already a separate crime from the point of view of international humanitarian law.
The rules of war and the treatment of protected categories of persons, such as the civilian population of occupied territories, are determined by the legal regime of international humanitarian law, which as lex specialis takes precedence over international human rights law. Russia is responsible for human rights violations in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.