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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

International Investigation Commission will consider the cases of Euromaidan activists

A human rights champion on the purpose of the visit of Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks
6 February, 2014 - 11:13

This week it became known that Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks is in a visit to Ukraine. The editorial office learned he was going to come to Kyiv in March. But taking into account the recent events in the country, he decided to go to Ukraine on a week-long visit immediately. Mr. Muiznieks will meet with governmental officials and representatives of the community. After the trip he is going to assess the events in Ukraine, and somewhat later a special report on the situation in the country will be published.

The Day asked the Chairman of the Board of the Center of Civil Freedoms, coordinator of the Civic Initiative Euromaidan SOS Oleksandra Matviichuk about the meaning of this visit and the probability that the illegal actions of Ukrainian power against Euromaidan activists will be considered in the International Criminal Court (The Hague).

“We know for sure that one of the tasks of this visit is launching the work of the Commission to Investigate Human Rights Violations in Ukraine, which will give a proper assessment of what has taken place in Ukraine. This commission, which includes a Council of Europe representative, is supposed to include as well one representative of the power and one – of the opposition. We have asked as well at the meetings with Council of Europe Commissioner for including representatives of the community, or at least finding a mechanism to involve the community in the work of this commission. We have also asked the Commissioner for Human Rights to organize a permanent mission for this period of time in regions of Ukraine. This mission, which would use his mandate, will have access to hospitals, raion departments, documents, and could prevent violence even by its physical presence there. Today we are meeting with the Commissioner and hope that after he examines the situation on the spot, he will make a decision to create this commission and grant his mandate to it.

“What is going on in Ukraine at the moment is a systemic, unpunished violation of the basic human rights, which not only runs counter to international standards and commitments of Ukraine, but also the national laws, regulations, and instructions. None of our documents reads that a person can be detained on the street and brought to a police department only for wearing a Euromaidan ribbon or being warmly dressed and wearing a helmet. None of our legislation acts reads that people can be beaten in police vans and medical ambulances.”

Does the Eurocommunity have any instruments to influence the Ukrainian power to prevent further violations of human rights?

“There are strategic instruments, such as the work of this commission, consideration of the case in the European Court, drafting of various monitoring reports, special rapporteurs in the UN. But we have always emphasized that we need their reaction. Right now we need the presence of international observers, who could use their authority to stop these acts of violation of human rights we have. Secondly, our colleagues are working on blocking and freezing the accounts of oligarchs and officials involved in violations of human rights. And the question is not about sanctions. The thing is that EU countries have special laws which allow them to freeze the money kept in their banks, if it was accumulated in a criminal way. Therefore we are not suggesting that the EU countries made decisions (this is hard to do), but we are asking them to fulfill their own laws and freeze the accounts.”

Is there any probability that a case in The Hague may be launched against the incumbent power?

“The International Criminal Court in The Hague – that sounds good. But we should understand that Ukraine has not signed the Rome Statute, therefore it cannot be a subject of consideration in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. So, this court considers the cases in the state parties which have signed the Rome Statute. A year ago in the Universal Periodical Review Ukraine was recommended again to sign this statute, but the Ukrainian power has not fulfilled this.”

By Ihor SAMOKYSH, The Day