Ukraine: Yanukovych-Era Criminal Cases Stand Unsolved

Four years following the EuroMaidan Revolution that resulted in former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s fall from power, crimes leftover from the Yanukovych presidency remain unsolved and their investigations stagnant, according to The Kyiv Post.

Petro Poroshenko in Slovenia in 2016 54 copyPetro Poroshenko (Photo: The Presidential Administration of Ukraine, CC BY-SA 4.0)The investigations are dormant because the Office of the Prosecutor General under Yanukovych was ordered to transfer criminal cases to a new State Investigation Bureau, yet the bureau never opened. Another reason, specifically for unsolved corruption cases, is a shortage of National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) staff for the number of open graft cases. Lastly, current president Petro Poroshenko approved of changes to the regulations for criminal investigations that limit the abilities of investigators.

The amendments Poroshenko signed would lead to “the collapse of the work of the NABU and other investigative agencies, and paralyze Ukraine’s law enforcement system,” read a statement from the NABU.

President Poroshenko and his allies expressed little concern that the investigations are on hold.

Some critics even accused the leaders of intentional sabotage.

“They’ll tear the cases apart and destroy them and eliminate the evidence,” Vitaly Tytych, a lawyer for the families of killed EuroMaidan protesters, told The Kyiv Post.

Other critics say that the lack of an independent justice system will lead to the “collapse of the law enforcement system.“

Just weeks ago, Poroshenko gave his stamp of approval to 25 new judges for the country’s Supreme Court. The watchdog group, the Public Integrity Council, previously deemed the aforementioned judges corrupt.