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Current realities: Ukrainians prove their relatives’ death
  • Written by Nelia Chekhanyuk, project manager of Community Growth Center
  • Published in  Success stories
Current realities: Ukrainians prove their relatives’ death Photo from Google

As the unannounced war lasts for the fourth year in eastern Ukraine, the appearance of birth or death in the occupied territory makes it a new way to look at this standard procedure. After all, documents issued by the authorities of illegal armed formations have no legal force. Problems also arise for the heirs. There are no state registries and state bodies of Ukraine working there. At the same time, as with many other constitutional rights, nobody cancels ownership. In a similar situation, a resident of the Kovel oblast appeared, whose father died in the occupied territory. The certificate of his death, issued on the letterhead of the so-called Ministry of Health of the “DPR”, is not recognized on the territory of Ukraine. It was only with the help of the head of Kovel branch of the Legal Development Network at the Community Growth Center Nadia Klimuk the man managed to prove his father’s death.

On April 2, 2017, *Rostislav Demchuk’s 84-year-old father of died in Zugres, Donetsk oblast. The pensioner was a citizen of Ukraine and, despite the onset of armed conflict, did not leave home.

Since the city is in the occupied territory, where the bodies of lawful power of Ukraine do not act, it was not possible to obtain a true certificate of the death.

The illegal government issued to Rostislav the certificate to the letterhead of the so-called Ministry of Health of the "DPR", which is not recognized in the state registration department of the civil status of the registration service on the territory of Ukraine.

The above document was an obstacle to the registration of inheritance rights.

The only legal way to receive the death certificate in the bodies of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine was to appeal to the court with a statement on the establishment of the fact of death.

Legal support to Rostislav was provided by the Chair of Community Growth Center Nadia Klimuk. At first, it was necessary to obtain a formal refusal from the authorized body of registration of acts of civil status in the registration of death and the issuance of a death certificate. After that, the lawyer prepared a statement to the court establishing the death of Rostislav’s father.

Documents attached to the application:

  • Son’s passport;
  • Identification code;
  • Son’s birth certificate;
  • Son’s marriage certificate;
  • Reference of the Ministry of Health of the "DPR";
  • Father's death certificate;
  • Letter of refusal of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine;
  • Letter of refusal of the department of state registration of civil status acts of the Department of State Registration of the Main Territorial Department of Justice in the Volyn oblast for registration of death and issuance of a death certificate;
  • Letter-refusal of the notary to issue the certificate of acceptance of the inheritance.

The statement of Rostislav Demchuk was completely satisfied with the court that established a fact of legal significance. Namely: the fact that his father, a citizen of Ukraine, died on April 2, 2017 in Zugres, Donetsk region. Now Rostislav is the legal heir to the father's property. However, it is unlikely that anyone can predict when the armed conflict will finally end and the son, as a citizen of Ukraine, will be able to go to his hometown and live calmly in the inherited house.

*The name is changed for ethical reasons.

P.S. Offices of Legal Development Network are created and work with the financial support of Human Rights and Justice Program Initiative of International Renaissance Foundation. You can learn more about activity of Network, basics and principles of work on Legal Space website.

 The opinion of the International Renaissance Foundation cannot coincide with the point of view of authors of publication.

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