Court permits SBI to investigate murders of protesters at Instytutska Street in 2014, arrests ex-commander of Berkut in absentia
Kyiv-based Pechersky District Court permitted investigators of the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) to conduct a pretrial investigation in absentia against the former commander of the Berkut special-purpose police regiment, who is suspected of committing the premeditated murders of protesters on Instytutska Street in the center of Kyiv on February 20, 2014, as well as in other particularly serious crime.
As reported on the website of the State Bureau of Investigations, the investigating judge issued the relevant decision on Wednesday, August 12. In addition, the court in absentia impose a pretrial restraint in the form of detention for the former director of the Department of Material Support of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in criminal proceedings on the facts of the supply of special means from the Russian Federation and their further use during the events in the center of Kyiv on February 18-20, 2014.
In turn, on the website of the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), under the procedural guidance of the prosecutors of which the investigation will be carried out, it is reported that the former officer of Berkut is suspected of committing of intentional murders of 48 people and attempts on premeditated murder of 80 people, a terrorist attack and other crimes in collusion with other law enforcement officers on Instytutska Street on February 20, 2014 (Part 3 of Article 365, Article 340, Part 3 of Article 258, clauses 1, 5, 12 of Part 2 of Article 115, Part 2 of Article 262 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).
“The court’s decision provides an opportunity to conduct a special pretrial investigation in absentia in relation to the suspect who is hiding from the investigating authorities, the court in order to evade criminal responsibility and who is put on the international wanted list, as well as to apply to the court with an indictment,” the PGO said in the statement.
Regarding the former director of the Department of Material Support of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, then, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office, he is suspected of embezzling property on an especially large scale, exceeding official powers and illegally obstructing the holding of meetings and protests (Part 5 of Article 27, Part 5 of Article 191, Part 3 of Article 365, Article 340 of the Criminal Code).
“According to the investigation, the former director of the Department of Material Support was involved in the supply of special equipment from Russia in January 2014 in the absence of requests stipulated by the Agreement on cooperation between the ministries of both states and the waste of funds for their customs clearance, thereby damaging the interests of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. The court’s decision on taking into custody of the former official gives the prosecution the right to initiate the extradition procedure against him. Prosecutors also will apply to the court for permission to conduct a special pretrial investigation in absentia,” the PGO said in the statement.