Statement of the Public Commission to Investigate Human Rights Violations in Ukraine

The events of bloody Tuesday – 02/18/2014 – confirmed that the Viktor Yanukovych -controlled, anti constitutional and authoritarian regime has now resorted to large-scale war against the Ukrainian people. This war is accompanied by a new wave of gross violations of fundamental human rights and basic individual freedoms. Using specially trained provocateurs, who have been infiltrated well in advance into the surroundings of the nonviolent protest movement, the government has now used unlawful brut force against the participants of a peaceful march to Parliament and initiated a barbarous “cleansing” of the Maidan.

By cruel and disproportionate use of force to suppress legitimate protest, the anti-Ukrainian authorities are trying to intimidate Ukrainian society in its entirety. Citizens of Ukraine have become hostages and victims of the criminal acts of government that has proved to be incapable of finding a civilized solution to a political crisis provoked by its own actions. The Government’s responses to the just demands of society have come in the form of cynical provocations and crimes against humanity that have been committed by President Yanukovych’s security forces and the criminal elements under their control.

The primary responsibility for any further escalation of human rights violations, including murder, grievous bodily harm, torture, persecution on political grounds and other crimes against humanity, falls directly on the President of Ukraine, his political entourage and the heads of his security agencies . However, direct liability also falls on any member of the law enforcement agencies involved in the commission of such crimes . The Commission considers that the accomplices of these crimes against humanity, not only include the personnel of “Berkut” and the internal security forces, but also the heads of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Emergencies of Ukraine, as they deliberately provided to the government perpetrators at their assembly points, military vehicles and equipment to be used against peaceful protestors. The Commission also is of the opinion that the accomplices of the criminal assault of Independence Square [Maidan] are the leaders of the КМДА and the City Metro system, which arbitrarily stopped the movement of metro trains and thus deprived the residents of Kyiv the opportunity to help the defenders of freedom at a critical moment. However, the blocking of roads by the traffic police on the outskirts of Kyiv and near the Maidan, limiting the broadcast of TV Channel 5, the creating an information blockade on officially controlled news and media feeds, all these measures are practically equivalent to introducing illegally a state of emergency in the capital.

The Commission draws the attention of the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, heads of security agencies and all of their employees, that under the Constitution of Ukraine, citizens have the right to peaceful protest, and one of the main tasks of the police is to ensure public order and protect the life and health people. Employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Security Service should be carrying out only protective law functions – not punitive functions.

The Commission calls upon all members of law enforcement agencies that under no circumstances should they participate in the cruel and excessive use of force or take special actions against peaceful protestors, and reminds them that under Article 60 of the Constitution of Ukraine , no one is obliged to accept and execute manifestly criminal orders and instructions. Issuance or execution of clearly criminal orders entails criminal liability.

The Commission also notes that crimes against humanity have no statute of limitations, and those who committed them, regardless of their status, shall be liable in accordance with national and international law and procedures of the International Criminal Court.

The Commission calls on President Viktor Yanukovych to immediately stop the unlawful use of force against peaceful participants in protests in Kiev and throughout Ukraine .

The Commission calls on the international community and, in particular, on the heads of the European institutions, the governments of Western democracies, calling upon them to adopt individual sanctions against V. Yanukovich and his team members for their gross violations of human rights in Ukraine caused by their criminal behavior .

Also, the Commission calls on Ukrainian citizens to unite Ukraine and undertake organized peaceful resistance to the regime’s attempts to destroy democracy in Ukraine and turn it into a satrapy . Only the joint efforts of Ukrainian society can remove from power the criminals and to restore constitutional order in Ukraine, respect for human dignity and creating appropriate conditions for everyone to live in security and prosperity.

Kyiv February 18, 2014

Volodymyr Vassylenko — Commisison Chairman