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The UN calls on UKRAINE authorities to investigate the killing of journalists and activist

Vadim Komarov – 55 years old, Pavel Sheremet – 44 years old, Oles Buzina – 46 years old, Ekaterina Gandzyuk – 33 years old, Nikolai Bychko – 23 years old. These journalists and activists have been killed in Ukraine over the past five years. But the killings are either not solved or not investigated. This is reminded by our colleagues from the UN Office for Human Rights.

“He talked about the problems that others were afraid to talk about, mainly about local corruption schemes. Local zeal now lacks his zeal, ”says Valery Makeev, a lawyer from Cherkasy, about his friend, journalist Vadim Komarov. The journalist died in a brutal attack.

His friend has no doubt that the cause of the murder was his professional activities. But the category of “murder” did not appear immediately in the case. Valery Makeev believes that the UN helped in this: “I thank the United Nations and the international community for drawing attention to this matter, they are not silent. After their calls to conduct an effective investigation, the police changed the category of the crime to “murder,” although at first the case was opened on the fact of causing grievous bodily harm, which resulted in death. ”

In 2015, two masked men shot the writer Oles Buzina near his house in Kiev. Buzina openly criticized the government, especially in connection with the mass protests on the Maidan in 2013-2014. But the investigation has not been completed. Although the case went to trial, members of the right-wing extremist group, with whom the two defendants were associated, put pressure on the judges and jury. As a result, after a 1.5 year trial in May of this year, the judge recused himself. As a result, the trial had to start all over again.

A well-known investigative journalist, Pavel Sheremet, died in a car explosion in central Kiev in 2016. The following year, the target of the criminals was 33-year-old Yekaterina Gandzyuk, who led the fight against corruption. In Kherson, they poured acid on her. After three months of surgery and unbearable pain from burns that covered her entire body, she died in the hospital.

The investigation into Sheremet’s murder has been ongoing for three years, but the faces of the suspects have not yet been established. A year after the attack on Yekaterina Gandzyuk, the court sentenced the attackers to 3-6 years in prison, but the organizers are still at large, and the investigation and court proceedings by local senior officials allegedly ordered the attack, moving slowly and without visible results.

And the police recognized the death of a young environmental activist Nikolai Bychko as suicide and closed the case. In 2018, he was found hanged in a forest near a village in the Kharkiv region. Nikolai fought against water pollution, which was probably the result of the work of local enterprises. Human rights activists are calling for a new investigation into Bychko’s death, claiming that the police ignored some evidence.

UN human rights experts monitor trials throughout the country, attending an average of 10 hearings per week. “We know that Ukraine is implementing a number of reforms of the judicial system, but we see no attempts to eliminate the main problems that hinder the conduct of effective investigations and fair hearings …”, said the head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine Matilda Bogner

The UN Human Rights Mission in Ukraine helps authorities achieve justice and end impunity. And for this it is necessary to guarantee the independence of the judiciary.

“We know that we are not alone in the fight against impunity. Public statements, reports and outreach of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine encourages us to take an active position, rely on international standards and convinces us that justice will prevail, ”said the Chairman of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine Sergey Tomilenko.

Based on the analysis and recommendations of the Monitoring Mission, international partners conduct training courses for employees of the judicial system, police and prosecutors of Ukraine. In 2019, after the presidential and parliamentary elections, Ukraine formed a new government. The UN hopes to see significant shifts in the investigation of the killings and attacks on journalists and civil society activists. “By bringing criminals to justice, the government will help prevent future attacks,” says Bogner. “In a country where armed conflict continues and statements about widespread corruption and the protection of journalists and activists are heard, boldly express their opinion and inform the public, is a key factor.”

Recall that the world has just celebrated World Day Against Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. A UNESCO report noted that the number of killings of media workers over the past five years has grown by 18 percent.

Information taken from: https://www.dw.com/uk/%D0%B1%D0%B5%D0%B7%D0%BA%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%BD%D1%96%D1%81%D1%82%D1%8C-%D0%B3%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%87%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%B4%D1%96%D0%B2-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D1%83%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%97%D0%BD%D1%81%D1%8C%D0%BA%D0%B8%D1%85-%D0%B6%D1%83%D1%80%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%96%D1%81%D1%82%D1%96%D0%B2/a-51108881?maca=ukr-rss-ukrnet-ukr-all-3816-xml