Ukraine: Disbanded riot police must be held to account for demo deaths

All those responsible for the deaths of more than 100 people killed during the anti-government protests in Ukraine must be brought to justice, Amnesty International said today.

The call comes as plans were announced to disband the riot police unit that were allegedly responsible for the excessive force used against protesters.

In a separate move, on Tuesday the Ukrainian parliament passed a declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and called for the prosecution of former president Viktor Yanukovych.

Amnesty said that every effort must first be made to ensure prosecutions in domestic courts.

Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s Ukraine researcher, said:

“Moves to disband the riot police must not be used to allow the perpetrators of crimes off the hook.

“Each and every allegation must be investigated promptly, effectively and independently and any police officers found to be responsible must face criminal prosecution.

“Any approach to the ICC must be complementary to investigations and trials held in domestic courts. Justice begins at home.

“Those in power now must avoid the pitfalls of the previous government and remember what drove hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians onto the streets– a desire for human rights, the rule of law and an end to impunity.”

It is estimated that as many as 800 people were wounded during the demonstrations which started in November 2013.

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