Civil Society in Ukraine Demands High-Profile Dismissals Following Activist’s Murder
5 November, 2018

Representatives of the Coalition for the Protection of Civil Society and a number of civic and human rights organizations are demanding the resignation of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov over the death of Kherson city council advisor Kateryna Handziuk.

“We are outraged by the state of investigations into attacks and murders of civic activists and demand the dismissal of the leadership of the Kherson police, who, from the very start, sabotaged the investigation into the attack on Kateryna Handziuk, and also demand the resignation of Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who sabotaged reform of law enforcement agencies in Ukraine,” the activists state.

“As it stands, the people who ordered Kateryna Handziuk’s assassination have not been established. And even the theoretical possibility of establishing [who was behind the attack] and their further criminal prosecution is under a big question due to procedural obstructions, which were either accidentally or purposely created by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine. The investigation into this murder, including establishing who was behind it, is a requirement when carrying out an effective investigation, as outlined in Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights,” the statement reads.

According to the activists, at least one hundred attack on civic activists, which occurred in Ukrainian government-controlled territory after the Euromaidan revolution, have not been effectively investigated.

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They are insisting that an effective investigation into Kateryna Handziuk’s murder be carried out and a public report on the measures taken to establish and punish the people behind this terrible crime, as well as effective investigation into other attacks on civic activists, which have occurred throughout Ukrainian since Euromaidan.

Representatives from the civic organizations add that the affected party has repeatedly stated the procedural problems, which are the consequence of pre-trial investigations regarding the perpetrators and the people who ordered the attacks from two different bodies – the National Police and the Security Service (SBU). They also note that the affected party filed a petition and insisted that the two procedures be united in the SBU.  

Among the participating organization in the Coalition for the Protection of Civil Society are: Human Rights Information Center, Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Conduct in Law Enforcement, Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights, Center for Civil Liberties, Bureau of Social and Political Developments, Truth Hounds, Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative,” Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Crimea-SOS, Cherkasy Human Rights Protection Center, Open Dialogue Foundation, Human Rights Platform, Center for Law and Political Studies SIM, NGO Helsinki Initiative-XXI, Digital Security Lab Ukraine, Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research, Right to Protection, Crimean Human Rights Group, Media Initiative for Human Rights, youth organization STAN, Kharkiv Regional Foundation Public Alternative and charity fund Vostok-SOS.

The statement is also supported by: Anti-corruption Action Center, Transparency International Ukraine, Reanimation Packet of Reforms, Center for Economic Strategy, Together against Corruption, Eidos Centre for Political Studies and Analysis, Open Society Foundation, Civil Society Institute, all-Ukrainian association Automaidan, civil movement Chesno, NGO Institute of Mass Information, NGO Civil Control Platform, NGO People’s Defense, charitable organization Foundation Parity, Lviv Anti-corruption Forum, NGO Obukhiv Development Association, NGO Dyvovyzhni, NGO