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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

“Ukraine may have its membership in the Council of Europe suspended...”

Volodymyr VASYLENKO commented on the initiative of Lithuania to investigate violations of Euromaidan activists’ rights
11 February, 2014 - 12:10

Ukraine may have violated the UN Convention against Torture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Lithuania stated recently. It also calls on the EU to demand from the Ukrainian government “a thorough and independent investigation into this and other similar cases of torture, and taking steps to punish the perpetrators.” “Ukraine is a party to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; nevertheless, there have been concerns with implementation of this Convention,” the statement reads.

Lithuanian MFA proposes that the EU “consider possible further action with regard to the cases of abduction, torture and inhuman treatment of peaceful protesters in Ukraine.” Let us recall that Lithuania recently received one of the Automaidan’s leaders Dmytro Bulatov for treatment “in the condition which clearly reflects the physical signs of long-term torture and ill-treatment.”

The Day turned to Professor of International Law Volodymyr Vasylenko and asked him to comment on the recent statement of the Lithuanian MFA:

“This statement covers not only the Bulatov case, but also the incident with Havryliuk, who was subjected to tortures in the cold, and torturing of other members of the protest movement. In particular, the riot police used water cannons under bitter cold conditions, which amounts to torture by European standards. Clearly, these are not isolated cases, and they provide basis to accuse Ukrainian authorities of non-compliance with the Convention against Torture, to which Ukraine is a party.”

The Lithuanian MFA also said that the EU should consider possible further action with regard to the cases of torture and inhuman treatment of protesters. What could this action be, in your opinion?

“It may involve the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopting resolutions condemning these crimes against humanity and condemning the Ukrainian authorities as guilty of breach of its obligations under international treaties to which Ukraine is a party. The fact is that should the PACE or European Parliament recognize that these offenses are of a systemic nature, the consequences would be serious, because it would mean that Ukraine does not meet the requirements that must be met for continuing on the European integration path, including signing the Association Agreement with the EU.

“Crimes against citizens of Ukraine, committed by Ukrainian security forces helped by gangs whose members the press calls titushkos, have been a deliberate action. It may be aided by Russian special services in order to create the conditions preventing Ukraine from rapprochement with the European Union and realization of its civilizational choice.”

What exactly would be the “serious consequences” for Ukraine which you have mentioned?

“They may include suspending Ukraine’s membership in the Council of Europe and stopping the negotiations concerning the implementation of integration plans for Ukraine. Of course, it is possible that the EU and the Council of Europe may impose sanctions against those involved in these crimes, at least the people in command of security forces in Ukraine.”

By Ihor SAMOKYSH, The Day
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