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Crime and Punishment - Evidence of the numerous human rights violation is being collected in Ukraine [Close Up - Kyiv, Ukraine]
Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.
This is an absolute human right. It cannot be restricted under any circumstances: neither in a state of emergency, nor during military action.
Killings, torture, kidnappings, arrests - this is Ukraine at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.
Over a two-month period, human rights activists and lawyers have barely had the time to document the beatings, abuse, harassment, disregard for rights and freedom during detention and the setting of bail --
-- violations of the right to privacy during searches, and violations of the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
VASYL KYSIL -- lawyer, member of the Commission to Investigate Human Rights Violations in Ukraine
MR. KYSIL: "There is no public trust in the existing judicial system and the government in Ukraine.
We have a paradoxical situation.
The people responsible for the beatings can be identified easily.
But none of the security force members have been held accountable.
At the same time, more than 200 individuals have been arrested. They can be rightfully considered hostages."
STANISLAV SHEVCHUK -- Judge of the European Court of Human Rights
MR SHEVCHUK: "In all cases, we see victims who have been subjected to a certain manner of violence, and we can presume that is the work of government agents.
Some victims have severed hands or gouged eyes. These are very serious matters that absolutely need to be investigated by the European Court of Human Rights.
Torture calls for maximum penalties."
The lawyers say that Ukrainians and the world have witnessed actions that fall under the category of "crimes against humanity".
VOLODYMYR VASYLENKO, former judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia
Ukraine has signed, but not ratified the statute of the International Criminal Court [the Rome Statute].
If a state is not party to this treaty, it is not bound by the provisions of any agreement, including that of the International Criminal Court.
By way of exception, the prosecutor may file a criminal complaint for crimes against humanity if he receives an appeal from the Security Council of the United Nations."
In addition to torture, kidnappings, intimidation and beatings of peaceful civilians, violations of the rights of third parties also have been documented during the hostilities.
These are doctors, who were attacked by the police on January 22 --
-- and journalists, who sustained abuse at the hands of the security forces throughout the two months of civil conflict.
IHOR DEMCHENKO, journalist
MR. DEMCHENKO: "I wanted to capture the very moment when cobblestones were being thrown at the protesters.
I noticed that something was thrown at me, but I simply didn't think it was a grenade.
At this time, I no longer have my left eye.
The vision in my right eye has deteriorated dramatically, I can barely see out of it.
My motor coordination is impaired. I have hearing problems and terrible headaches at night.
I hardly get any sleep. Even though the eye is gone, it still hurts."
According to preliminary estimates, some 136 Ukrainian and foreign journalists have been injured since the beginning of the protests.
According to data collected by the Institute of Mass Information, the attacks are deliberate, aimed to destroy equipment and injure journalists, to prevent them from doing their professional duties.
MR. KYSIL: "The only international court that investigates these types of crimes is the International Criminal Court in The Hague."
There is no precedent of the judgments of this court not being enforced.
The outrage we see today can absolutely become an item in this court, ten, fifteen, or twenty years later. There is no statute of limitations [for these crimes]."
The leading Ukrainian international lawyers have formed a commission to investigate human rights violations in Ukraine.
The collected evidence will be included in a so-called "Black Book" and distributed to international institutions.
STANISLAV BATRYN, member of the Commission for Investigating Human Rights Violations in Ukraine
MR. BATRYN: "The main role of the commission is to adequately prepare evidence that can be delivered to international institutions.
Ukrainian citizens are utilizing all existing forms of legal protection in Ukraine, and after that, the materials will be passed on to the European Court of Human Rights.
The "Black Book" is being prepared in Ukraine in order to transfer this database to the UN Security Council --
-- as well as to other countries interested in the democratic development of Ukraine."
MR SAVYLENKO: "Look at Article 7 of the International Criminal Court.
It covers crimes such as ***, torture, grievous bodily harm, kidnapping, and arbitrary destruction of property.
In other words, everything that is, sadly, happening in Ukraine right now."
Crimes against humanity are investigated by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
However, the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court, is not in force in Ukraine.
The ratification of this statute was one of the requirements in the Association Agreement with the EU that President Yanukovych refused to sign.
VALERIY CHALIY, expert on international issues at the Razumkov Center for Economic and Political Studies, Ukraine
MR. CHALIY: "This statute is one of the main reasons why the government would not sign the Association Agreement.
The Association Agreement, in addition to the much discussed matters of trade, also includes political obligations. Specifically, it includes the obligation to adhere to the requirements of the International Criminal Court.
Quite possibly someone who understood the personal implications of this requirement did not wish to take this step."
MR. VASYLENKO: "If there is an escalation in the violation of human rights, resulting from the mass use of force against peaceful civilians --
-- then the UN Security Council could decide to give jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court to prosecute.
It is unlikely that Putin would risk Russia's authority to save the reputation of [the President] Yanukovych."
ARKADIY BUSCHENKO, executive head of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group
MR. BUSCHENKO: "I think that the likelihood of such move is doubtful.
If we consider cases where such special tribunals were set up - for example, Yugoslavia and Rwanda - the scale of crimes is not comparable.
This kind of decision made by the UN means that the respective country is in a state of a humanitarian catastrophe."
Despite the documented facts and evidence, there have been no investigations of human rights violations in Ukraine, and no punishment of those responsible.
Therefore, after exhausting all legal avenues in Ukraine, the victims will have a chance to bring their cases before the European Court of Human Rights.
If the Court rules that violations have occurred, nearly every tax-paying citizen will suffer the punishment.
OLEXANDER PAVLICHENKO, expert of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group
MR. PAVLICHENKO: "The size of the compensation for damages is increasing, sometimes exponentially. As a result, the government is forced to consider the critical situation in its country.
The amount of compensations can reach 15, 20, 30 thousand Euros, depending on the damage caused."
MR. BUSCHENKO: "The greatest penalties are awarded for instances of torture. Cases resulting in death carry similarly high penalties.
Given the scale of violations, a tremendous amount can build up. Let's say there's a thousand complaints --
-- multiply that by 20 thousand Euros, and you have 20 million. It is impossible to predict exact amounts."
Experts point out that winning a case before the Court requires a strong desire to restore justice and highly qualified attorneys.
However, not all citizens of Ukraine are prepared to seek punishment for the offenders.
MYKHAILO HAVRILYUK, injured protester: My biggest injury is probably the concussion - they hit me on the head pretty hard. I also have bruises all over my body.
My tailbone was hurt so badly I couldn't walk - all I could do was drag my feet behind me. Well, God be praised, I'm doing better now and could probably outrun anybody.
Lawyers have contacted me suggesting that I sue people for millions, but I don't need that. They didn't take millions from me. I don't need anything from them. I'll leave it to the Lord to judge them."
Meanwhile, Ukraine has already set a record of sorts. The European Court of Human Rights accepted the case of the Maidan activist Ihor Sirenko and made it a priority.
The victim testified that he had been beaten by the riot police during a forceful dispersal of peaceful protesters, and that he had been illegally detained on 30 November, 2013.
Sirenko claims violation of four articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Because of the priority that the European Court has given to this issue, lawyers believe that a decision can be expected by mid-March.
According to the available information, this is unprecedented, because the case has not yet been presented to courts in Ukraine, and rules call for the European Court to take on a case only after all recourse in national courts has been exhausted.
Lawyers believe this could mean that the international community no longer has any faith in the justice of Ukrainian courts.
CLOSE-UP [Krupnym Planom] by 24 News Channel Translated by Anna Mostovych Edited by Michael Stecyk, Lesia Stranget, Maria Stanislav Subtitles by Maria Stanislav