Verkhovna Rada Adopts Changes to Allow Investigation of Maidan Cases to Continue
The changes will allow the General Prosecutor's Office to work with the newly created State Bureau for Investigations
Photo from Ukrinform – UATV
The Verkhovna Rada, the Parliament of Ukraine, adopted amendments to the Law “On the State Bureau of Investigation,” long-awaited by the community of activists monitoring the investigation of crimes committed by the government at the time against activists during the administration of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.
One of the amendments provides for the creation of a specialized department on Maidan cases within the State Bureau for Investigations, allowing investigators from General Prosecutor’s Office, which were in charge of the probe, to continue work on it with the SBI.
In addition, the director of the bureau will receive full power and will be responsible for the investigation conducted by the SBI. He or she will obtain credentials to appoint Deputy Heads of the bureau without a competition.
Relatives of the victims of Maidan are waiting for the president to sign the bill. They expect investigators experienced in the investigations of Maidan Cases to work in the newly-established Office for Maidan Cases.
The Maidan Cases is an umbrella term for numerous criminal proceedings and investigations, which will be gathered in one investigation process. The crackdown of the protest on November 30, 2013; the murder of Serhiy Nigoyan, Mykhailo Zhyznievsky, Roman Senyk and Yuriy Verbitsky; the executions and shootings on February 20, 2014 are just some of the cases.
Since 2014, these cases had been investigated by the General Prosecutor’s Office. However, the cases are now being handled by the newly created State Bureau for Investigations.
The head of the SBI, Yuriy Truba stated, on November 4, 2019, that the investigation of the Maidan cases will be suspended due to the transfer of cases from one body to another.
“5,000 volumes will be handed over to new investigators. Five years of the work, that has to be redone from scratch,” he said.
A lawyer representing victims, Yevheniia Zakrevska, launched a hunger strike on November 22, 2019, after the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine failed to vote for the bill which would have left the cases with GPO instead of shifting them to the SBI.