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Court hearing into the disturbances in Kharkiv on 16 December scheduled for 28 March


The Dzherzhynsky Court in Kharkiv is scheduled to begin a preliminary hearing into the case over the events on 197 Klockivska St. on 16 December last year which resulted in a number of people being beaten up.

Information about this was given today at a briefing from the leader of the civic organization “Misky Dozor” [“City Watch”] Vladyslav Protas. He said that the hearings would be into the charges brought by the police under the article on “hooliganism”.

He expressed surprise that “it only came out by chance on Monday that the hearing was to begin on Wednesday”, and that “neither the victims, nor lawyers, had received court summons”.

Mr Protas expressed indignation that the court case was being considered under the article on hooliganism, and not under that on “mass riots”, as had been originally launched by the SBU [Security Service]. He said that 26 people had suffered from the fracas on Klochkivska St – “they sustained medium and serious bodily injuries, and many are still being treated”. That, he believes, cannot be classified as “mere hooliganism”.  He also said that to his knowledge, 50 people are presently being sought by the police for questioning, “they can’t find them” and “only 10 of them have been arrested”.

The leader of “City Watch” believes that this all shows that the leadership in Kharkiv, which was present at the rally on 16 December, is trying, as he puts it, to “hush things up”. He suggested that journalists come to the beginning of the court hearing on Wednesday, saying he expected a lot of surprises.

As reported,  on 16 December last year after a rally in Kharkiv against the building of a shopping centre mass disturbances broke out in which a number of people (mainly security guards – translator) were beaten up. The SBU launched a criminal investigation under Article 294 § 1 of the Criminal Code (organization of mass riots accompanied by violence against individuals, as well as active participation in mass riots).  Soon afterwards the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office initiated a criminal investigation over professional negligence by police officers of the central department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (CD MIA) in the region

On 24 January this year the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor Vasyl Synchuk stated that the prosecutor’s office had terminated the investigation into the case under the article on mass riots, launched by the SBU, in the absence of elements of that crime.

Later the Verkhovna Rada was unable to create a Temporary Investigative Committee to look into the events of 16 December. Another draft resolution is presently awaiting review in the Verkhovna Rada seeking an investigation into the events.

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