Who was shooting during Euromaidan? Four years have passed, and Ukraine is still trying to find the guilty ones.
On 18-20 February, the Ukrainians commemorated for the fourth time the tragic ending of the Euromaidan – peaceful protests, which turned into bloody clashes. In those days, candles burn in the centre of Kiev, a mournful music can be heard, and people leave flowers where the protesters were killed. The victims are known as the Heavenly Sotnia.
The Euromaidan anniversary still evokes many questions. Especially, who is to blame for these tragic events that took place four years ago in Kiev. The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine informed about the ongoing investigations regarding Euromaidan. It has already become a miserable tradition of recent years.
Only on February 20, 2014, 48 people got killed and 80 had bullet wounds, mostly made by sniper rounds. According to the prosecutor’s office, all 32 suspected of the killings were identified.
So many cases, so incompetent courts
– Now it all depends on the work of the courts – says Serhiy Horbatiuk, the Head of the Special Investigation Board of the PGU.
The courts are not able to cope properly with all these legal matters. Four years after the protesters were shot on February 20, 2014, no one was found guilty of these crimes. That is the reason why there are many dissenting voices that current authorities are not interested in explaining the events during the Euromaidan and punishing those are guilty.
Serhiy Horbatiuk underlines that he works with 42 investigators and 33 prosecutors in his department. Additionally, they are supported by 32 police investigators and 30 public prosecutors. However, they are investigating 3400 crimes committed during Euromaidan (from November 30, 2013 to February 21, 2014). In total, there are 412 people suspected.
Jewgienija Zakrewska is the lawyer representing families of Euromaidan victims. She gave an interview to Ukrayinska Pravda. She indicated that since the suspected is charged, the prosecution is given one year to conduct all investigative measures. Unfortunately, the period between the referral of the case to the court and the case consideration can take even up to two years. There are not enough judges at courts, especially those, who rule on Euromaidan matters. The lawyers of the accused ones take advantage of this fact.
So far, the so-called “Titushky” were sentenced (among other things, for kidnapping people) and a few other people, including one Berkut officer – for beating protesters on February 18.
The perpetrators are hiding in Russia and … in Ukrainian police
Long investigations, which often require making many examinations, interrogations and investigation experiments are not the only problems. A significant part of those suspected of serious crimes have already escaped either to Crimea, which was taken over by the Russian army in March 2014, or to Russia. They received protection there.
What is more, the Prosecutor’s General Office points out that 12 suspects still work in the Ministry of the Internal Affairs. One of the suspects has a top job in the National Guard. Two suspects work in the police. Such facts make the public opinion really outraged.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs defends Volodimir Hryniak and refuses to suspend him. Hryniak, the Head of the State Security Board of the National Guard, is suspected of coordinating the operations of special forces during the Euromaidan events on 18-19 February 2014.
The Georgina snipers
On February 12, the former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, was detained by a special unit of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine and quickly taken to the airport. Then he was deported to Poland. The Ukrainian side has referred to Readmission Agreements with the European Union because in September Saakashvili illegally came to Ukraine from Poland, a member of the EU.
It turned out that Sakashvili was to be questioned by the Prosecutor’s General Office in case of the protesters killed during Euromaidan in February 2014.
Serhiy Horbatiuk, the Head of the Special Investigation Board of the PGU, commented that Saakashvili’s absence was detrimental to the investigation and those who had decided to deport him had to know about the politician’s hearing on 13 February.
– Was Saakashvili’s deportation connected with the interrogation? I do not know that, but it is certain that his absence during the court hearing is harmful to the investigation – added Horbatiuk.
In November 2107 a film “The hidden truth about Ukraine” was shown in Italy. The authors claim that on February 20, 2014, two Georgians and two Lithuanians, led by a Ukrainian and an American, were shooting to protesters in Euromaidan.
The Prosecutor’s General Office of Ukraine considers the film as a fake. Its representatives and the defending lawyers believe, that Saakashvili’s testimony could help to deal with the theory of the so-called Georgian snipers.
The Prosecutor’s General Office wants to interrogate another witness in the case of “snipers” He is mentioned in the film “The hidden truth about Ukraine”. However, Serhiy Horbatiuk has not informed who is the mysterious witness.
Perhaps he meant the commander of the Georgian Legion, Mamuka Mamulashvili. His squad fights in Donbas supporting the Ukrainian side. Probably Saakashvili will also be interviewed, this time via the videoconference.
It will take several years to close all the cases related to Euromaidan – and probably some of them will never be completely clarified.