Ukraine issues arrest warrant for ousted president

[JURIST] Ukraine's acting interior minister Arsen Avakhov on Monday said on his official Facebook page [Facebook, in Ukrainian] that an arrest warrant has been issued for the country's fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovich [JURIST news archive], for the mass killings of civilian anti-government protestors. In his statement, Avakhov said that an official case had been opened for the mass murder of peaceful citizens and that Yanukovich and other officials had been declared wanted [BBC report], going on to say that Yanukovich was last seen in the Crimean peninsula before dismissing much of his security detail and going to an unknown location. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev [JURIST news archive] expressed doubts [AP report] about the legitimacy of Ukraine's new leaders on Monday and accused them of coming to power as a result of armed mutiny. A vast majority of Ukraine's elected parliament voted for the new government, including members of Yanukovich's party, and acting President Oleksandr Turchinov has said that a new coalition government may be formed as soon as Tuesday.

The Ukrainian parliament on Saturday voted to remove Yanukovich [JURIST report] from office following a statement from the president that he would not be resigning despite current escalating violence. Ongoing protests in Kiev have continued for more than two months, prompting reactions from all sides of the conflict. Last week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] called [JURIST report] for a peaceful resolution. Earlier in February leaders of Ukraine's anti-government protests pressed [JURIST report] Yanukovich for further concessions, including a return to the earlier constitution that would limit presidential powers, and a revival of the EU free trade agreement (FTA) [existing EU FTAs]. In January the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] called for an investigation [JURIST report] into torture allegations against Ukraine following widespread arrests of protesters. The statement came the day after Yanukovich offered amnesty to protesters [JURIST report] who were arrested and agree to meet certain conditions.

 

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