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26.08.2009

SBU – Holodomor as genocide criminal investigation near formulating charges

   

During a roundtable held on 25 August in Kyiv entitled “The Crime of Genocide – Holodomor 1932-1933 in Ukraine”, the Head of the Security Service [SBU] Valentin Nalychaichenko said that investigators had received the stage of formulating the document outlining the charges.

He said that in accordance with a decision from the investigation unit, the SBU was carrying out a scientific demographic assessment which would provide answers regarding the number of people who died during the period of Holodomor and its impact on Ukraine’s demographic situation.

He noted that material from the work of the US Congress State Commission which worked up till 1988. The material contains testimony of Ukrainian émigrés who lived through Holodomor.

As part of the investigation, the SBU also sent requests to the Russian Federal Security Service and to the law enforcement agencies of Belarus and Moldova asking for access to archival material of the Central Committee of the All-Soviet Communist Party (Bolshevik), the Council of People’s Commissars and the OGPU [the Soviet secret police]; normative legal acts , directives, instructions, statistical and other documents of the higher echelons of power during the Holodomor period in Ukraine.

Italy has been asked for legal assistance in order to receive from their archives copies of diplomatic correspondence of the Italian consulate in Kharkiv from 1932-1933. Poland has also been sent a reqest this time to receive archival document from the Headquarters of the Polish State Polish, the Polish consulate in Kharkiv and other departments concerning the period of Holodomor in Ukraine.

During the roundtable Mr Nalyvaichenko made public new facts which have come to light in the process of the criminal investigation initiated on 22 May 2009 into genocide in Ukraine in 1932-1933.

SBU created special investigative operational units in 25 regions of the country.

At the present time the investigators have found material with statistical data about the number of people repressed as having “organized sabotage and disruption of the grain requisition campaign”; about the struggle of the Ukrainian intelligentsia with the Stalinist regime in 1932-1933; political repression by the secret police against national governmental staff who were blamed for the collapse of the grain requisition plans. Documents have been found from the Ukrainian secret police on measures to prevent grain being taken from the Crimea to Ukraine where people were dying of starvation.

It has been established that it was the central and eastern regions of Ukraine which suffered most. In the Dnipropetrovsk region 57 mass graves have been located; in the Zhytomyr region – 2; Kirovohrad region – 3; Luhansk region – 90; Mykolaiv region – 30; Poltava region – 273; Kharkiv region – 206; Khmelnytsky region – 35. There are hundreds of thousands of victims.

There are also documents showing deliberate falsifying of records on the reasons for mortality; prohibiting the keeping of records on the number of deaths; and about the books registering deaths during the period in question being destroyed.

There are documents showing that grain and other food products were taken out of the Ukrainian SSR at a time when the Ukrainian villages were suffering famine.

1378 archival documents have thus far been added to the criminal file. In the Branch State Archive of the SBU 400 documents have been found and also added.

533 witnesses have been questioned in 17 regions.

The investigators have received various types of documentary evidence from members of the public (newspapers, letters, written recollections, photos, etc).

Bohdan Futey, Judge of the US Federal Claims Court, stressed that it was vital for any future court charges over Holodomor that the Ukrainian authorities carry out the necessary criminal procedures in accordance with its international legal commitments. He added that it was vital to demonstrate that there was intent in the actions of the Soviet authorities and said that this had received documentary corroboration.

Yevhen Zakharov, Co-Chair of KHPG, stressed that in order to carry out a court on the results of the investigation, Ukrainian legislation needed to be changed. He said that the case should be examined by a specially created Court with clearly defined status.

From a report at www.sbu.gov.ua

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