Lawyers and the self organized relatives of the deceased activists point out little progress in identifying and punishing the guilty for over a hundred deaths in February 2014.
Kyiv, October 25, 2016. There is a risk that the cases related to crimes against Maidan activists will not be submitted to the court. This was informed by Volodymyr Bondarchuk, son of one of the Heavenly Hundred’s heroes at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Almost two years ago, in December 2014, there was a decision to establish department of special investigations. It was established to consolidate all investigations of crimes against Maidan activists in a single center,” informed Volodymyr Bondarchuk and stressed that “our main task is that all independent proofs are collected and that neither the international community, nor Ukrainian society cast doubt upon the judgements held by the court.”
Yevgeniya Zakrevska, lawyer of families of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes, noted that the court should hear crimes against Maidan activists as one case, which is the result of criminal organization activity, and not as isolated individual cases that somehow have coincided in time. According to her, the court has already reached verdicts in many cases. “We have huge procedural risks due to the fact that none of the evidence against the officials and, most importantly, against [former president Viktor] Yanukovych will result in the guilty verdict,” she noted and explained why this may happen: “If we combine proceedings with different time of pre-trial investigation into one case, we will have the least time […] – about 3-4 months in the common case.” Thus, it is impossible technically and physically to become familiar with all materials of the case and to submit it to the court within the legal period that expires in April 2017. Olena Storozhuk, lawyer of families of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes, added that “the cases that have been combined have many defendants and proceeding participants; therefore, it is not easy to predict how long it may take.” Vitaliy Tytych, lawyer of families of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes, noted that the Department of Special Investigation made certain achievements.
Volodymyr Golodniuk, father of Ustym Golodniuk, Hero of the Heavenly Hundred, deputy head of the NGO “Family of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes” emphasized that “this is not only the concern of parents and Ukrainian society. This is a test for statehood and democracy. Therefore, all decisions should be reasonable.”
UCMC note: Heavenly Hundred Heroes are the over a hundred Ukrainian activists of the Revolution of Dignity (also known as “Euromaidan” or “Maidan”) who were killed by police forces between February 18 – 20, 2014 in Kyiv. The investigation is ongoing.