Kyiv, February 25, 2015. “Euromaidan and events in eastern Ukraine have only revealed the problems that existed in Ukraine for years: police abuse, impunity and disrespect for the rule of law and human rights. Unfortunately, all of them were and remain Ukraine’s chronic problems,” stated Tetiana Mazur, Director of Amnesty International in Ukraine at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Conflict in the East of Ukraine is accompanied with daily violations of human rights and freedoms. This includes kidnapping, torture, extra-judicial killing and execution without prior investigation. Impunity, in turn, becomes the main reason for the worsening of the situation.
According to the experts, it is necessary to reform the law enforcement system and create the State Investigation Bureau that will investigate cases of power abuse among the police and bring those guilty to justice. The State Investigation Bureau has to be founded on the principles defined by the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. “Such a body needs to be truly independent and controlled by the civil society,” noted Ms. Mazur.
It is also important to investigate all known cases of the war crimes, torture and kidnapping today. In the experts’ view, Ukraine needs to join the International Criminal Court by ratifying the Rome Statute as one of the main steps toward the solution of this problem.
Amnesty International experts stated “the year 2014 turned to be extremely unfavourable for the people affected by conflicts in Ukraine and worldwide. Armed groups commit crimes against human rights, using social media to promote their activities and enlist new proxies. Imprudent and not well-thought-out measures on the part of the states may lead to the creation of an atmosphere where extremism and discrimination flourish.”
However, there were positive changes as well, such as deployment of the peacekeeping contingent to the Central African Republic. Moreover, Palestine signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and adopted the Arms Trade Treaty that stands as one of the key steps in countering the proliferation of weapons in the countries where human rights violations are widespread. 130 countries have signed the Treaty, and 62 countries ratified it. On the other hand, the experts noted that in spite of the positive changes, human rights continue to be threatened in many countries. The escalation of the situation is seen particularly acute in Russia and Azerbaijan, which in turn negatively affects other countries of the region.