Kyiv court to decide on arrest of Maidan activist suspected of killing two Berkut officers in 2014

19:56, 03 April 2018
Politics
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Kyiv's Pechersky court is to decide on the arrest of Ivan Bubenchyk, a participant in the Revolution of Dignity, also known as Maidan events, who has been detained on charges of two murders and one attempted murder of former Berkut riot police officers.

"He is suspected of two murders and one attempted murder under Article 115 (deliberate killing of two or more persons) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine," Prosecutor of the Special Investigations Department of the Main Investigation Directorate of the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) of Ukraine Oleksiy Donskoy said. "I'd like to stress he is suspected rather than indicted."

The prosecutor said he had grounds to insist that the suspect had committed crime, an UNIAN correspondent reported.

"There will be an investigation to find out whether there were or were not circumstances that exclude the guilt of this person, who he shot at and whether they were a threat [to him]," Donskoy added.

Bubenchyk, who was detained on the Ukrainian-Polish border on Tuesday morning, was earlier questioned as a witness in criminal proceedings probing into Berkut murders amid the Maidan events in the winter of 2014.

Read alsoU.S. honors memory of Ukrainian protesters killed on Maidan, calls on Kyiv to bolster reform

However, the prosecutor claims Bubenchyk did not want to cooperate with the investigator.

"When we wanted to conduct investigative actions, he said he did not consider it necessary to come, which means he evaded the procedure, and therefore there was no other way to make him participate in the investigative actions but detain," Donskoy said.

He also added that the PGO would insist that the court arrest Bubenchyk as he is suspected of committing a particularly serious crime.

Court hearings, which started on the evening of Tuesday, April 3, are scheduled to resume at 21:00 Kyiv time after a break needed for a new lawyer of the suspect to examine the materials of the case.

After ex-president Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine on February 21, 2014, in the wake of the Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine's parliament passed a law banning criminal prosecution of Maidan activists.

However, Donskoy claims the law passed by the parliament on February 21, 2014, on the amnesty of participants in the Revolution of Dignity cannot be applied to Bubenchyk. "Firstly, it's early to speak about it. Secondly, it has nothing to do with Article 115 (of the Criminal Code), there is only an article on an attempted attack on law enforcement officers; and thirdly, this law is void because it contradicts the Criminal Procedural Code, which states that any law that fails to comply with the procedure prescribed in the Criminal Procedural Code shall not be applicable," the prosecutor stressed.

Over 100 people were killed on the Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, in the center of Kyiv amid the Revolution of Dignity on February 18-20, 2014. Some dozen people went missing, over 1,000 were wounded.

All the crimes committed during the Maidan events were combined in one big Maidan criminal case, which consists of 89 counts and covers 91 deaths (78 activists and 13 riot police officers killed during the events).

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