3D reconstruction of the Maidan shootings of February 20, 2014: a significant contribution to the evidence in the case

American experts created a 3D model of the situation on Instytutska Street on February 2014, when almost fifty Maidan protesters were shot dead by riot police, reconstructing the circumstances of the killing of three of them. The 3D model helps to define the exact sector from which the lethal shots were made. The analysis will be a part of the evidence in the case. “We cannot say what status the court will give to these conclusions, will they be considered as direct or indirect evidence – it is up to the court to decide. We believe that this evidence together with other information from the witnesses will back a charge against, as of now , five former policemen taken into custody, because it confirms the previous conclusions in the case file. For our part, we are going through the necessary procedures to bring these materials to the court,” said Oleksandra Yatsenko, lawyer of families of the Heavenly Hundred, at a press conference at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

The research established the sequence of events and circumstances of the deaths of three Maidan protesters, Ihor Dmytriv, Andriy Dyhdalovych and Yuriy Paraschuk. “We focused on these three people because at the beginning we were not sure how much time this work would take and when the result would be ready if we started analyzing all 47 cases at once. In addition, we are lawyers of these families,” Oleksandra Yatsenko explained.

The research is based on 520 videos from the site. All of them had no time markers. “The research and the platform that we are presenting today are based on the videos provided by the Heavenly Hundred’s lawyers, their total duration is almost 65 hours. In addition, the materials include a 2D plan of Kyiv downtown and a 3D point cloud of the site of events and protocols of postmortem examinations,” elaborated Tetyana Pechonchyk, head of the Human Rights Information Center. “One of the first aims was to synchronize all these videos which were taken by different people from different sites and at the different time. It was really hard to establish where exactly and from what places the events were filmed,” added Pavlo Dykan, lawyer of the Heavenly Hundred.

The results of the research became a basis for an interactive platform, consisting of three parts. The first one is a timeline with integrated videos, providing a general overview of events on February 20: approximate places where protesters were killed, manoeuvres of police groups with respect to protesters and the timeline of events. “These results are very important for us, for the public interest to the investigation to not wane and people in Ukraine and in the whole world could clearly see what was happening on that day,” noted Oleksandra Yatsenko.

The second section of the platform includes results of research on the abovementioned cases of three protesters, with links to the documents and videos which were used. The analysis allowed to establish the sectors from which the lethal shots were made. There is no similar Ukrainian expertise in the case file. “Ukrainian experts established a very wide angle of a possible place from which the shots were made. In this research, due to 3D modeling, this approximate angle is narrowed,” explained Pavlo Dykan.

The platform does not prove that concrete persons are responsible for lethal shots. “The problem is that policemen had no insignia to identify them personally  – they were in masks and helmets without identification numbers, they were acting as a group,” Dykan noted.

The results of the research have already been passed to the lawyers of the accused “Berkut” policemen and the Prosecutor’s Office. “Ukrainian legal practice has no precedents of evidence similar to this interactive platform. We tried to comply as much as possible with all requirements of Criminal Procedure Code: the data of the platform is recorded on a special drive which has been passed to court, and the court passed it to the defense lawyers. And when the next hearings will take place, we will officially request the court to include this data to the case file. It is a very important evidence proving that the lethal shots on the abovementioned protesters were made definitely from the sector where the policemen were situated,” elaborated Oleksandra Yatsenko.

The synchronized videos are available in the section “Archive”, with site and time markers.

The research was made by SITU Research studio and the Center for Human Rights Science of Carnegie Mellon University. “These are the results of two years of work – preparatory work of Ukrainian lawyers and expert work of American partners who used the most advanced technologies of digital analysis and made a significant step forward inthe formation of the evidential base,” noted Oleksandr Sushko, executive director of the International Renaissance Foundation.