International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Ukraine begins to put the pieces together following Yanukovych’s departure

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/23/viktor-yanukovych-ukraine-secret-documents

After former Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych has left Kiev, protestors broke into his palace compound and Kiev and found many pieces of evidence of corruption, whether they be documents that recorded the passovers of large sums of cash or ridiculously ostentatious pieces of furniture and decoration.  Compound invaders also found the soggy remains of many documents that Yanukovych’s henchmen couldn’t dispose of properly in the compounds reservoir; men are working now to recover them to gain a better picture of just how corrupt Yanukovych’s reign was.  

Ever since Yanukovych backed out of trade agreements with the European Union in November and instead sided with the Russians for cheap utilities such as gas and credit, the Ukranian people have been protesting, first peacefully, then violently in the last week.  Now, the protests are somewhat over, although some protesters still haven’t left the main square under command from the political opposition.   In the power vacuum created by Yanukovych’s absence, Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov has become the interim president, and has vowed to “rejoin the European family.”  A lot of questions still remain: How was Turchynov chosen for the interim presidency (this BBC article has no information on the process http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26317912)?  Will the international community be involved in the corruption trials that Yanukovych will probably be subjected to? Will the fractious opposition party be able to engender peace and cooperation to the country in transition?

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One response to “Ukraine begins to put the pieces together following Yanukovych’s departure

  1. aoforiappiah March 2, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    In response to your question of whether the international community will be involved in Yanukovich’s trials:
    On Tuesday, Ukraine’s parliament voted for Yanukovich and other high ranking officials to be investigated by the ICC for their role in the “mass murder” of over 100 protesters and other crimes. Ukraine is not a party to the ICC. While it can invite the ICC to look in the situation, the ICC has stated that it has not yet received an official request from Ukraine. In a statement the Court affirmed: “It is important to highlight that a state cannot ask the ICC to prosecute specific individuals.” In this statement the Court is pushing against the idea that merely Yanukoyich and his cohort would be targets in an ICC investigation; those who headed the protests are possibilities as well. Moreover, the Court is emphasizing that ultimately investigations determine who is indicted. I find it curious that Ukraine has made an informal appeal to the ICC to investigate merely Yanukovich and his followers. Surely, if the Ukrainian government wanted such one-sided justice it could try Yanukovich, etc. using its court system. Also, considering the ICC’s track record of relatively lenient sentences it’s questionable whether the Ukrainian government would be satisfied with the punishments meted out by the ICC. Not to mention, the ICC has a long drawn out process. Things might be done more expediently in the Ukrainian court system…
    I also find it surprising that Ukraine has called on the ICC, considering that they are not a party to the Rome Statute. Why is there sudden respect within the Ukrainian government for the ICC? What’s it in it for them? I would say that the government would avoid complaints about victor’s justice, but the government doesn’t seem to care about that since it has been very clear that it wants Yanukovich and his followers investigated. I also wonder the extent to which the complementarity principle would come into play. I don’t know too much about the Ukrainian court system, but I’m guessing that the courts would be capable of taking on such a case. Perhaps it could be asserted that Yanukovich and his followers would not receive a fair trial in Ukraine…

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