Publication

Statement by human rights organizations on the need to urgently investigate cases of human rights violations that occurred during Euromaidan rallies

Ukraine and international community were shocked by the massive human rights violations that occurred during the Euromaidan rallies.

Murders, tortures and cruel treatment, illegal detention and arrests, fabrication of criminal cases, violations of the right to a fair trial, illegal surveillance, searches and wiretapping, preventing peaceful assemblies, bribery and victimization of opposition members and civil society activists should be investigated with a view to punish those guilty.

However, we observe that no investigation is going on. Investigative activities are not conducted as required. Internal investigation initiated within the Ministry of Interior cannot replace a full-scale criminal investigation.

We demand that the authorities conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigation of all crimes in compliance with international human rights standards.

In order for that to be carried out, we specifically demand:

1)     Immediately establish investigation team under the supervision of a new Prosecutor General of Ukraine who should be urgently appointed in consultation with Maidan. The new Prosecutor General should have experience in conducting criminal investigations. The team should include retired professional investigators, civil society representatives and international investigators (e.g. Interpol investigators or representatives of the US investigative authorities) in order to assist in conducting investigative activities and ensuring impartiality and independence of investigation. Any team member should not represent any political party and should not be subject to any conflict of interest concerning any person against whom the investigation is conducted.

2)      Make public the list of investigation team members and appoint those who will be responsible for collecting evidence with the assistance of citizens. Specifically, people need to know whom witnesses of crime should refer to, where relevant documents or other possible evidence in these criminal cases should be submitted, and where to refer in order to report on crime that has not been reported yet.

3)     Investigators must ensure that all criminal proceedings related to the crimes conducted during the Euromaidan rallies are submitted to one investigative team. It is necessary to promptly conduct all appropriate investigative activities, such as independent forensic examinations, crime scene reviews, witnesses’ interrogations, evidence collection, searches and seizure of documents as well as other evidence both at suspects’ residence and work addresses, blocking of bank accounts and seizure of suspects’ property, tracking the suspects, etc. We especially emphasize the necessity to take immediate actions to protect witnesses, ensure that it is impossible to put pressure on investigators and preserve all possible evidence.

4)      All law enforcement officers who are suspects in a criminal case or were reported as those who committed crime should be immediately removed from office pending the end of investigation. Special attention should be paid to identify those who carried combat firearms, the time and place of their deployment when people were killed, in order to ensure relevant ballistic examinations firearms and ammunition should be seized, and gunshot marks taken.

5)    Investigation team should inform the public about investigation status on a regular basis, and publish its report upon the conclusion of investigation.

We also call on the Ukrainian Parliament to urgently ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and introduce relevant amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine in order to establish its jurisdiction. This will not only protect the Ukrainian people from the repetition of such tragedies, but also help in the search for those suspected of committing crimes against humanity who may be hiding abroad.

Punishing those found guilty will be one of the most important factors to prevent such human rights violations in future; we also propose to perform some form of lustration regarding those individuals who were involved in wide-scale violations of human rights. Failure to ensure such investigation may be regarded as covering up a crime and complicity in crime. Therefore, punishment of those found guilty is one of the most important requirements of human rights activists.

 

Mykola Kozyrev, Chairman of the Board, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

Arkady Bushchenko, Executive Director, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

 

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