Kiev 'failed' to probe protest violence: Council of Europe

31st March 2015, Comments 0 comments

The Council of Europe on Tuesday blasted Kiev for failing to properly investigate deadly violence against demonstrators at last year's Maidan protests that ended with pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych's downfall.

The pan-European rights organisation said Ukrainian probes into the bloody crackdown that killed scores of people "failed to satisfy the requirements of the European Convention of Human Rights".

During the three months of demonstrations, "there was no genuine attempt to pursue investigations," the report said.

The council reviewed records detailing violence in Kiev's Independence Square, or Maidan -- the focal point of the pro-European protests -- from November 2013 to February 2014.

"In certain important respects, the investigations into the Maidan cases lacked practical independence in circumstances where the investigating body belonged to the same authority as those under investigation," the report said.

As a result, "substantial progress had not been made in the Maidan investigation", said the Strasbourg-based Council.

Rights groups have frequently accused Ukraine's current leaders of failing to bring to justice those responsible for the Maidan violence, in particular a three-day bloodbath in February.

Dozens of demonstrators who set up camp on the square also disappeared and are still missing.

The final days of the protests were mired in bloodshed and chaos as security forces gunned down scores of protesters in what was then the worst unrest in Ukraine since independence in 1991.

Only two low-ranking former riot police officers are facing trial over the killing of demonstrators.

© 2015 AFP

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