The Euromaidan Legal Protection Center continues work started by the investigative committee, which was created by activists to search for missing persons.
“After the events of February 18-20, there was a problem with finding people who disappeared at the Euromaidan,” its chairman Valerii Potsiluiko said. “We had investigating committee formed and began searching, with the police and prosecutor’s office joining us later. When it all happened, with vehicles burned and the Automaidan attacked in Kriposny Lane and Shchorsa Street, such an organization appeared naturally. Our next task is to be a link between society and the authorities that are now working, to put it mildly, poorly. People will apply to us with complaints of poor performance of executive agencies, including housing authorities, police, and prosecutor’s office. We will analyze this information, investigate it, send data to the competent authorities and then monitor their investigations. Today we present the first results of our work. Of the 300 missing, we found about 160 people.”
The Euromaidan Legal Protection Center brings together journalists, investigative specialists, and experts in various fields who are willing to help reform government. Organizers emphasize that the center is different from the Lustration Committee as it investigates specific violations, not undertaking a total reorganization of government. The organization operates on a voluntary basis and is funded by charitable contributions.
Deputy Chairman of the NGO Euromaidan Legal Protection Center Yurii Yaremenko claims that their organization is non-political. “We created this organization to bring to a new level work of the investigative committee. We will fulfill the promises made to the people to look for the missing and to investigate crimes that were committed during the protests. Our center is not politically biased. We work with people who share our views.”
However, according to Yaremenko, the committee cooperates with the authorities. In particular, they have received support and approval from Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. “Working together is the main principle on which we build our relationships with executive agencies and other bodies. We have good relations with the legislature. If society needs our influence on this part of the government, then we certainly will use it. We are not going to supplant professionals within executive agencies. We will support them and assist with elimination of the problems that currently exist.”
Also, to confirm the cooperation, they have already signed memorandums with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Security Service, the National Bank of Ukraine, the Ministry of Defense and other agencies.
The Euromaidan Legal Protection Center will create a special web portal to publish the collected data. In addition, it is already running a hot line for reporting cases of corruption and pressure on business. The center responds to the reports and promptly conducts investigations.
Nazar BOIARSKY, a volunteer of the Euromaidan SOS group:
“How we conduct the search? The Euromaidan SOS is a public initiative, but our volunteers cooperate with other initiatives, share information, and try to coordinate efforts. No matter how strange it may sound, but before the change of government, we collaborated with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This exchange of information with the authorities has stopped, they call us no more. There may be some dedicated committees there that do this work, and they do not need our information.
“We conventionally divide our search into two types. We engage in the first type when there are disturbances and injured. Then, the search targets people in hospitals, morgues, police stations. There are volunteers who find out the names of people in hospitals, while lawyers and MPs who cooperate with us try to get to the police stations to find out who is there. The second type takes place in peacetime, when there are no injured or detained in such quantity as before. It is done by information sharing. We distribute on social networks photos and descriptions of people who are considered missing. We have set a Euromaidan SOS stand on Maidan with photos of missing people. We transfer the data to other initiatives and the Self-Defense headquarters. We try to find people that way. We also recommend that relatives file missing person reports with local police, making the state to participate in the search, too.”
The number of missing and dead persons during clashes in central Kyiv since the beginning of protests as of April 3, 2014:
♦ 620 persons who had been missing and were found;
♦ 140 persons still missing;
♦ 121 persons dead.