Publication

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has acceded to the appeal demanding resignation of the Minister of Interior Vitaliy Zaharchenko

We, the undersigned, citizens of Ukraine, demand your immediate resignation. The events of the last month have shown that you are not able to perform your duties. The most important task and role of the police in Ukraine is to protect life, health, rights and freedoms of its citizens, and you have totally failed to ensure that.

With your knowledge, the Ministry of Interior instead of performing its duties has committed and continues to commit crimes against people, whom it should protect. These include: a bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters on the night of November 30, 2013 at the Independence Square, flagrant excess of powers by the authorities, brutal beating and random detention of peaceful protesters, including journalists in front of the Presidential Administration on December 1, 2013, repetitive criminal acts such as an attempt to disperse and beat peaceful protestors on the night of December 11, 2013.

Almost a month after committing the first criminal act, none of the Ministry of Interior employees have been fired and none of them have yet been informed that he or she is under suspicion of having committed any crimes. Operating as an organized and criminal group, the Ministry of Interior continues its unlawful activity against its own citizens.

The Ministry of Interior simply ignores the calls for investigation of multiple criminal acts committed against activists and organizers of the peaceful protest rallies in the period from November 22, 2013. We witness the refusal to investigate cases and deliberate procrastination in reviewing legal suits on the grounds of attacks against the participants of the protest rallies.

Serhiy Mokrenyuk, organizer of a local protest rally, was attacked on November 22, 2013 in Feodosia (http://goo.gl/Psxj7P). A few days before, on November 27, 2013 his car was damaged in Simferopol (http://goo.gl/cAYFNR).

In the downtown of Dnipropetrovsk, a tent camp put up by supporters of the European integration was attacked by a group of several dozen unidentified persons on November 25, 2013. Serhiy Romanenko, co-organizer of the protest rally, and six other protesters were injured during this attack (http://goo.gl/08JbVq).  Police officers, present at the scene of the incident, did nothing to protect the victims.

On November 27, 2013 someone burned private vehicle belonging to Oleksand Danylyuk, leader of the movement Spil’na Sprava (http://goo.gl/tbjdLI).

On the night of November 29 – 30, 2013 in Ivano-Frankivsk, unknown persons severely beat Maxym Kytsyuk, co-organizer of the local Euro-maidan, having inflicted him a head injury and multiple foot injuries (http://goo.gl/z9rrj9). The circumstances of the assault attest to its political nature.        

In the evening of November 30, 2013 in Ternopil, unknown persons beat Volodymyr Khanas, a local civic activist (http://goo.gl/EH0JIr).

In the evening of December 6, 2013, a private vehicle belonging to Igor Chudovsky, a well-known lawyer and one of co-organizers of local protest rallies, was set on fire in Luhansk (http://goo.gl/GbjeLj).

On the night of December 16, 2013, a private vehicle belonging to Yaroslav Shafar, a co-organizer of local protest rallies, was burnt in Uzhgorod (http://goo.gl/WrrceA).

On December 20, 2013, a private vehicle belonging to Serhiy Kovalskyi, co-organizer of the local protest rallies, was destroyed in Simferopol (http://goo.gl/QguKTQ). It is likely that the vehicle was attacked with the use of firearms.

On December 21, 2013, in the city of Artsyz (Odesa Oblast) someone burned a private vehicle belonging to Yevgen Burkuta, a civic activist, who transported people willing to participate in protest rallies in Kyiv (http://goo.gl/wi4lYG).

On December 22, 2013 in Zhytomyr, unknown persons attacked Dmytro Tkachuk, Head of the local branch of the Democratic Alliance, at the entrance hall of his apartment block (http://goo.gl/I47az9).

Earlier in November (on November 23 and November 28, 2013), Vlad Puchych, Editor of the newspaper ’20 Khvylyn’, was beaten twice by a group of unknown persons in Zhytomyr (http://goo.gl/fZTBwl). On December 15, 2013, unknown persons attacked Victor Brokarev, Head of the local branch of Svoboda party (http://goo.gl/VdFzyJ). Altogether, since the beginning of protest rallies unknown attackers have damaged seven vehicles that belonged to the local activists, who organized and participated in peaceful rallies.

On the night of December 23 – 24, 2013, a private vehicle belonging to a local Euro-Maidan activist was burnt in Kharkiv (http://goo.gl/XaldT3). Earlier this month (December 13, 2013) in Kharkiv, unknown persons set on fire one more vehicle, which local protest rally organizers used to transport equipment (http://goo.gl/ZMVjww). On the night of December 20, 2013 premises of the Kharkiv branch of the Prosvita association, where temporary Euro-Maidan headquarters was located, was destroyed (http://goo.gl/y9C2b1).

In the evening of December 24, 2013 in the downtown of Kharkiv, unknown persons committed an armed assault on Dmytro Pylypets, local civic activist and organizer of protest rallies. He suffered multiple stab wounds (http://goo.gl/1sCJnc).

On the night of December 25, 2013, unknown persons severely beat Tetyana Chornovol, a well-known journalist and civic activist, in Boryspil (http://goo.gl/QUSU6o).

None of these crimes have been solved. No person is under suspicion. The progress of the events shows that impunity of the attackers contributes to an even greater violence against civic and political activists.

It is worth noting that the above crimes are not some individual unconnected cases, but most likely represent part of a well-planned strategy that is implemented in order to chill public debate on the current government’s policies. According to the standards of the European Court of Human Rights, this is a flagrant and inadmissible violation of the freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful assembly.

Based on the foregoing, Articles 1, 2, 7 of the Law ‘On Police’, Article 18 of the Law of Ukraine ‘On the Cabinet of Ministers’

WE DEMAND

THAT YOU IMMEDIATELY WRITE AND SUBMIT A LETTER OF RESIGNATION

Annex: Black Spot

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