HRW Criticizes Kiev for Failing to Investigate the Events of Maidan and Odessa

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

27th January, 2016


The report published by the human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) on January 27th, on the observance of human rights, pointed to the lack of progress in investigating the events on Maidan and the Odessa House of trade unions.

“There has not been considerable progress in bringing to justice the perpetrators of violations committed during the protests of Maidan in 2014”, — stated the report in the section on Ukraine.

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Human rights activists were reminded of conclusions that were made in this regard in 2015, by the International Advisory Group of the Council of Europe, that a certain part of the law enforcement agencies have a “widespread belief in impunity.”.

The report criticized the actions of the authorities into the investigation of the 2nd May 2014 tragedy at the Odessa House of Trade Unions. Law enforcement agencies are still unable or unwilling to bring many suspects to justice, said human rights activists.

In November 2015, the Council of Europe experts were subjected to criticism of the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies for the investigation of events in Odessa. According to European observers, the investigation was not independent. In addition, in September the UN special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Christof Heyns, found that most of the evidence relating to those events had been destroyed.

On May 2nd, 2014 in Odessa, there were clashes between supporters of federalization and activists of Euromaidan. During the riots, the supporters of federalization took refuge in the House of trade unions, which was set on fire. According to official data, 48 people died, more than 200 injured. The investigation into the May riots was completed in late September 2014. According to its results, 24 people were charged.

Maidan (Euromaidan) was the mass protests in Kiev and other cities of Ukraine in winter 2013-2014. It got its name from Independence square in Kiev (Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Ukrainian). The action led to the flight of former President Viktor Yanukovych and a change of power in the country. In total 106 people were killed in connection with the events in Kiev and the regions.

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