Outrage over plan to name police unit after victims of Euromaidan
The police and ‘titushki’ in cooperation, Dnipropetrovsk, Jan 2014
The civic initiative Euromaidan SOS has reacted swiftly to plans by the Interior Ministry to name a law enforcement unit after Nebesna Sotnya – those killed during the Euromaidan protests.
In a statement, Euromaidan SOS, which began its work in response to repressive measures against peaceful protesters, stresses that a new page in Ukraine’s history began in November 2013. It brought with it new words like Euromaidan and Nebesna Sotnya that have become the symbol for Ukrainians of their struggle for dignity and liberty.
“In this struggle ordinary civilians died at the hands of the law enforcement bodies and criminal gangs of ‘titushki’ or government-paid thugs affiliated to them. Several hundred people were imprisoned, several thousand injured and 115 people, 95 of them Euromaidan activists, were killed”.
The law enforcement bodies under President Viktor Yanukovych will go down in history, and are remembered by Ukrainians, together with titushki, provocateurs, criminal elements and lawlessness. Euromaidan SOS points out that the police must restore trust through their actions, through commitment to defending rights and freedoms, not by appropriating the name of those who died in the struggle against lawlessness.
“We would draw the Interior Ministry’s attention to the fact that Nebesna Sotnya is not an abstract name. It refers to specific people who gave their lives in the confrontation with the lawlessness of the law enforcement bodies defending an authoritarian regime”.
They call on the Interior Ministry to reject this idea and suggest that the best way that they can honour the memory of those killed is to help the Prosecutor General’s Office in effective investigation of all crimes committed during Euromaidan. They should also carry out systemic reforms to ensure that such crimes can never be repeated.
Lawyers and activists helping Euromaidan victims and the families of those killed have largely found the Interior Ministry to be obstructing, rather than assisting the investigation into the crimes. At a press conference introducing a report by Euromaidan SOS and other civic initiatives entitled “Year of Impunity”, lawyer Pavlo Dykan specifically mentioned “Interior Ministry sabotage” as one of the problems with the investigation. This echoed the criticism of the Interior Ministry’s ‘uncooperative attitude” and role in the investigation expressed in the International Advisory Panel’s damning report .
As reported here, there are very few ex-Berkut officers, suspected ‘titushki’, etc. who have been charged in connection with the multiple crimes against peaceful protesters. There have also been questionable moves which enabled people already facing charges to go into hiding. See, for example, So who doesn’t want justice for Euromaidan victims?