OSCE to consider fact of non-investigation of criminal offences against UOJ

The head of the NGO “Public Advocacy” Oleg Denisov. Photo: protiktor.com

The crime against UOJ was committed in January 2018, however, until now, the investigation in the case hasn’t been finalized, and the perpetrators haven’t been punished.

On September 18, 2019, at the OSCE’s HDIM 2019 meeting in Warsaw, the head of the  non-governmental human rights organization “Public Advocacy” with special consultative status at the UN ECOSOC  Oleg Denisov reported about the non-investigation of the criminal offense of members of the right-wing organization “S14” against the UOJ, as reported on the NGO website.

In his speech at the OSCE session on the safety of journalists, Denisov recalled that back in January, radicals from "S14" attacked the UOJ office, and the fact of the attack was recorded and posted on social networks. However, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies have not yet finalized the investigation into this case.

“After the attack on the office of the UOJ, the offenders committed several open acts of disturbing public order, including attacks on the Tithe Monastery of the UOC,” public rights advocates commented on the situation. “Such offenсes committed openly are an attempt to show that Ukraine is not able to ensure the rule of law on its territory even in situations where crimes are openly committed, and the identities of criminals can be easily detected.”

Lawyers also drew the OSCE’s attention to the fact that witnesses who provide information to the media do not receive adequate protection from the state. Instead, one of these witnesses, the head of the Department for the Interfaith Conflict Resolution at the Rovno Eparchy of the UOC Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy, is harassed by the authorities. The OSCE meeting participants were informed that Archpriest Viktor was accused of commenting to the media on violations of the constitutional rights of believers.

The NGO called on Ukraine to investigate the obvious facts of violation of the rights of journalists and bring real criminals to justice, as well as to stop the persecution against Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy.

“The new President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky is given the opportunity to show his commitment to the principles of legality and respect for human rights,” the OSCE stressed.

The international organization was given recommendations to ensure effective monitoring of high-profile cases of violations of the rights of journalists in Ukraine, as well as to give a public assessment of the information received by the OSCE during the reports of its regional missions.

A written statement on this topic can be found in the documentation system of the international organization.

Earlier, the OSCE called to assess the attacks of raiders on believers of the UOC and the police.

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