The investigation into the tragic events that occurred on May 2, 2014 in Odessa “does not meet the criteria of independence and impartiality”. Five years after these crimes, their instigators and perpetrators have still not been brought to justice. This is stated in a document prepared by the United Nations Monitoring Mission on Human Rights.
We are talking about two separate incidents: riots in the city center, during which six people were shot, as well as clashes on the square. Kulikovo field, which led to a fire in the House of Trade Unions, which killed 42 people.
“Five years later, no one was brought to justice for the killing of six and the death of another 42 people. Some criminal cases initiated after these tragic events were stuck at the stage of pre-trial investigation, others are delayed in the courts, and therefore it can be assumed that the authorities have no real interest in punishing the perpetrators, ”the UN document says.
It describes in detail the tragic events of five years ago. The clashes occurred in the center of Odessa, where a group of supporters of the idea of federalization of the country attacked the participants of the march For the unity of Ukraine. Police failed to prevent or properly respond to the violence, as a result of which six men from both opposing groups were injured and died. 42 people died in the ensuing riots on Sq. Kulikovo Field, when about 300 supporters of federalization barricaded themselves in the House of Trade Unions after they were attacked by their opponents and burned the tents installed in the square. As a result, “Molotov cocktails”, which both groups threw each other into the building, started a fire in the building. 32 people were burned there. Another ten people died jumping from the windows of a burning building. The firemen, who were 600 meters from the House of Trade Unions, arrived at the scene only 40 minutes after the start of the fire.
UN experts believe that the investigation of clashes in the city center and the fire in the House of Trade Unions does not meet the “criteria of independence and impartiality”, and is also “selective”. The UN notes that out of 29 people who have been charged in connection with the events in Odessa, 28 are supporters of federalization.
In addition, five years later, the police did not identify specific persons responsible for the fire in the House of Trade Unions. According to the police and the General Prosecutor’s Office, the main obstacles to the investigation are the difficulties in identifying those who participated in the clashes. In addition, some suspects managed to escape and now they are beyond the reach of the Ukrainian justice system. We are talking about the former deputy head of the main department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Odessa region and the former head of the main department of the State Service for Emergency Situations in the Odessa region. Both suspects managed to escape. According to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine, requests for their extradition, which were sent to Russia, remained unheeded. Both suspects were allegedly granted Russian citizenship.
“The low quality of the pre-trial investigation and the politically motivated attention of the prosecution to supporters of federalization create additional barriers to identifying the real perpetrators of the crime and hinder efforts to ensure that those responsible are held accountable,” the UN Mission Information Note says. Its authors called on the Ukrainian authorities to “effectively, promptly, thoroughly and impartially” investigate all the killings and all the deaths of people on May 2, 2014 in Odessa. They called on Moscow to fulfill requests for the extradition of all suspects in these criminal cases.