Maidan cases: Will investigation continue?

Author : Antonina Slavytska

Why lawyer Yevhenia Zakrevska, who represents the families of those killed and injured during the events of the Maidan, went on a hunger strike
23:32, 3 December 2019


Lawyer Yevhenia Zakrevska, who represents the families of those killed and injured during the events of the Maidan, went on a hunger strike. The reason is the failure of the Verkhovna Rada to consider one of the amendments to the draft law on the State Bureau of Investigation. This amendment would make it possible to transfer to the State Security Bureau without a competition or by the simplified procedure of investigators of the special investigations department of the General Prosecutor's Office who were involved in the Maidan. MP from Servant of the People faction Iryna Vereshchuk announced that the consideration of amendment No. 318 (Zakrevska defends it) is scheduled for December 5.

Zakrevska does not trust the parliament. “I don’t know if they (amendments) will be considered on December 5. I plan to continue the hunger strike until this amendment is accepted. I don’t know when it will happen and whether it will be accepted right away. This amendment could be supported on November 15. But they didn’t do it," the lawyer says.

Related: Why Maidan case lawyer Zakrevska announced hunger strike?

Why is this amendment so important for Zakrevska? The fact is that the Maidan’s affairs were handled by the special investigations department of the Prosecutor General’s Office, which was headed by prosecutor Serhiy Horbatyuk. But from November 20, 2019, prosecutors lost their authority to investigate criminal proceedings. With this in mind, most of the cases about the events on Euromaidan should be referred for investigation to the State Security Bureau, as well as to the Security Service of Ukraine, the National Police, and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.

A couple of days before this norm came into effect, namely, on November 18, the head of the State Security Bureau, Roman Truba, announced the creation of a unit in the State Security Bureau that would investigate the Maidan cases. In other words, no one is going to refuse this category of cases and no one plans to ignore them: investigators will begin work immediately after the Prosecutor General’s office completes all the procedural steps and transfers the criminal proceedings to the State Security Bureau, Truba assures.

As for the General Prosecutor's Office, although it loses the function of investigation, it retains the function of supervision and control. And this is much more important, says Prosecutor-General Ruslan Ryaboshapka. General Prosecutor's Office would create a department that will provide procedural guidance in cases related to the events of 2013-2014. According to Ryaboshapka, he was proposed to be headed by Zakrevska, but the parties "did not agree," the prosecutor general said.

Related: Maidan affairs distributed among law enforcement agencies, - head of State Bureau of Investigation

An alternative version connects Zakrevska’s discontent with the fact that the information support of the Maidan’s affairs was provided at the expense of the Vidrodzhennia Foundation, and now that things are changing the jurisdiction, the grant support for the project may stop or at least get shallow. And the fact that the Maidan advocacy group is supported by the Vidrodzhennia Foundation is not a secret, much less slander. The fund is listed on the group’s website among its partners.

Although for five years, the investigating authorities have not shown any sane results. I want to recall the chronology of some high-profile statements on the Maidan. Attorney General Vitaliy Yarema was the first to report on the completion of the investigation in a number of episodes, and this was in June 2014. And in October 2015, his successor Viktor Shokin repeated almost the same thing. “I can say that the case is actually investigated,” he said. Then Yuriy Lutsenko came. So, 3.5 years after Shokin, in February 2019, he reported that the General Prosecutor's Office had actually completed an investigation into the execution of Euromaidan activists.

Related: Zelensky plans to meet with students who suffered duting Maidan protest clashes in 2013

Virtually, nothing has been done. Neither in 2014, nor in 2015, nor in 2019 did anyone starve because of the actual failure of Maidan's affairs.

However, if we return to the “stumbling block” and to the work of the State Bureau of Investigation, then it is worth quoting Roman Truba once again. He notes that before being sent to the State Bureau, all cases from the Prosecutor General’s Office undergo an inventory prescribed by law. And it can last up to three months. In addition, he notes, "investigators of the State Security Committee are ready to accept the materials of the proceedings and continue the investigation. The investigation team communicates with representatives of the prosecutor's office: everything works smoothly." Amendment No. 318 was approved by the relevant committee of the Verkhovna Rada and recommended for voting in the session hall. At the same time, Davyd Arakhamia, chairman of the Servant of the People faction, assures that his colleagues will support this amendment. And if the mono-majority gives "the green light," then the issue can be considered resolved.

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