Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Odessa May 2 trial turns into farce | Ukraine solidarity campaign солідарність України кампанія

Notes: The author tries to explain their pro-Ukraine leanings, but after all that, this article can't really be viewed as pro-Ukraine.

 March 14, 2015 · by ukrainesolidaritycampaign · in Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Odessa, Ukrainian Far-Right

By Halya Coynash Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

 Whatever the reasons for delays and flaws in investigating and prosecuting crimes related to the disturbances, fire and deaths on May 2, 2014 in Odessa, procrastination serves only the interests of Russian propaganda's 'massacre' claims.

 Forty-eight people died in Odessa on May 2, 2014 during disturbances in the city and as the result of a fire in the Trade Union building on Kulikovo Pole. Full clarity about what happened and accountability are vital, both for the sake of the victims and their families and because Russian propaganda is relentlessly distorting the facts to present a terrible tragedy as a 'massacre'. Yet almost 10 months after the events, the investigation into the fire is still far from complete, and the trial that had begun over the earlier disturbances has been delayed due to significant irregularities and most of the defendants facing dangerously vague charges.

 When police snipers were deployed on Maidan in Kyiv in February 2014, resulting in the deaths of around 100 mostly unarmed protesters, there was a large media presence showing the harrowing images. In contrast, the events in Odessa on May 2 were largely learned about after the fire in which most of the 48 victims died. Russian propaganda channels immediately began spinning and have ever since pushed claims of a 'massacre' with anti-Maidan activists allegedly 'burned alive' or murdered as they tried to escape. The same channels talk less about the earlier disturbances but claim that these were the work of 'Right Sector' and other far right 'radicals'. Considerable resources have been poured into efforts to push the 'massacre' line, including organization of an 'exhibition' taken around European cities, along with carefully selected 'witnesses'.

 The propaganda version of events has been refuted by the United Nations Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and by the May 2 Group, a journalist and civic initiative that includes representatives of both sides, which has been investigating the events and the copious video footage available (detailed examples here).

However, the propaganda narrative continues to be fuelled by the ongoing failure to complete the investigation into the events of May 2 and to bring to justice those whose actions or negligence caused deaths that day.

For chronological reasons, and since most of the new developments concern a trial over the disturbances earlier in the day, we begin with those. Worth noting, however, that far more people died as a result of the later fire. Given that most of the deaths could have been averted had the fire service not taken 45 minutes to appear, the failure to address this is deeply disturbing.

Complete story at - Odessa May 2 trial turns into farce | Ukraine solidarity campaign солідарність України кампанія

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