Ukraine : New Government must pursue deep reforms and fight impunity for grave crimes

Press release
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FIDH – CCL (Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine)

Paris-Kiev, 27 October 2014 – The first post-EuroMaidan parliamentary elections in Ukraine took place on 26th October 2014. After 1/4 of all votes counted, Ukrainians appear to have voted for the pro-European parties of the Prime Minister Arsenyi Yatsenuk and the President Petro Poroshenko, each projected to secure over 21 percent of the votes. FIDH and CCL call on the new Parliament and Government to pursue deep reforms of the judiciary and the system of criminal justice, to ensure an effective investigation of grave human rights violations committed during the EuroMaidan events and the ongoing conflict in the Eastern part of the country, as well as to extend the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction in Ukraine and to ratify the Rome Statute.

« ’Human rights above all’ was one of EuroMaidan’s key slogans. The biggest rallies were clearly human rights-oriented: people protested against the police beating up students, and against the use of courts and prosecutors as tools of political persecution », stated Oleksandra Matviychuk, Chair of the CCL. « The new Parliament is responsible for fulfilling this social demand. It is responsible for quick and profound reform of law enforcement, criminal justice and the judiciary »  , she added.

« The new Ukrainian government must demonstrate high standards of good governance and involve the civil society on an equal level in the reform-making process » , stated Tolekan Ismailova, FIDH Vice-President.

Following the Maidan revolution, since 7 February 2014 Ukraine has been governed by the interim government of Arsenyi Yatsenuk. Under the interim government and given the continuously unstable situation in Eastern Ukraine, it was difficult to advance on the most needed long-term deep reforms. Positive steps have however been made, notably Ukraine requested the ICC to investigate the crimes committed in the country between November 2013 and 22 February 2014.

«The new government must commit to fighting impunity and to that end it should request an extension of ICC jurisdiction in Ukraine, to cover also the post-February 2014 violations » , stated Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. « The government must further guarantee the protection of civilians caught up in the conflict between the Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian armed groups in Eastern Ukraine », he added.

The new President Petro Poroshenko was elected on 25 May 2014 and assumed office on 7 June 2014. He soon announced early parliamentary elections in order to ensure that Ukraine is governed by a representative government.

FIDH and CCL recall that in several constituencies elections could not take place, notably in the ten constituencies in Crimea.

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