Mejlis of Crimean Tatars: Prosecutors began investigating the genocide of Crimean Tatars

The Security Service finally starts a pre-trial as pressure on authorities increase.  

Kyiv, 17 May 2016. May 18 marks the anniversary of the tragic events of 1944 – the deportation of the Crimean Tatars from the peninsula. “It was a tragedy, it was a genocide that continues today,” said Eskender Bariev, representative of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, at a briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. According to him, this act has both political and judicial assessment today: the prosecutor’s office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea began pre-trial investigation on the fact of genocide of the Crimean Tatar people. In this connection, the Crimean Tatars launched a campaign aimed at encouraging victims of deportation. They collect statements of persons who, in particular, were born in deportation and seek to be recognized as victims.

According to Borys Babin, expert at Crimean Tatar Resource Center, the crime of deportation still holds. Not all were able to return, there is evidence of repeated deportation. What is happening in Crimea today is an illustration of this. These people can submit applications to be acknowledged victims. Mr. Babin noted that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) had been refusing to investigate these crimes for a long time. “This is understandable, because we must interrogate not only those who organized the operation “Chechevitsa (lentils)” in 1944, but also the KGB people who in the 60’s and 70’s organized repeated exile, a special regime in the ARC etc. These persons are now in Kyiv, they are personal retired SBU staff, and someone does not want to dredge up the old thing,” said the expert.