1. Despite some abatement, the security forces continue to keep behind bars a few dozen people whose guilt, in most cases, has not been proven or who are accused only of participation (actual or assumed) in the protest movement against the regime.
2. As can be seen from different sources of evidence, opponents of the regime, detained by the current government, continue to be subjected to torture and abuse.
3. According to Law № 737-VII from 29.01.2014, adopted by the parliamentary majority, as well as official statements from the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Interior Ministry and other departments, the further fate of these detained people does not depend on their guilt or any legal procedures, but rather on concessions of the protesters in favour of the public authorities and perpetrators of the detentions.
4. According to part 1 of Article 1 of the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages (adopted by Resolution 34/146 of the UN General Assembly of 12.17.1979 ), “Any person who seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure or to continue to detain another person (hereinafter referred to as the “hostage”) in order to compel a third party, namely, a state, an international intergovernmental organisation, a natural or juridical person, or a group of persons, to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage commits the offence of taking of hostages (“hostage-taking”) within the meaning of this Convention.” The Convention defines all acts of taking hostages as dangerous manifestations of international terrorism.
5. Hence, in accordance with international norms, those captured by the security forces of Ukraine during the civil protests against the current regime, whose release is contingent on the fulfilment of certain requirements by the state authorities of Ukraine, have the status of hostages; and Ukrainian officials involved in capturing and detaining those people have the status of terrorists who have committed and continue to commit serious crimes.
6. Under the Convention, anyone who is involved in attempts to take hostages, or participates as an accomplice of those persons, is considered a criminal. Such persons (having seized and detained hostages who are mainly representatives of the opposition to the current regime) therefore include:
– The President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, as head of state structures that seized and detained hostages and set conditions for their release during negotiations.
– Staff of the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor’s Office, who are directly involved in the act of hostage-taking and subsequent documentation procedures involving falsification of documents about non-existent crimes. They are also initiators of and participants in torture and intimidation of hostages.
– Judges who consciously undertook crime registration procedures through false documents, clearly violating the rights of hostages to a fair trial.
– Ukrainian MPs (235 in total) who, conspiring with the President, adopted so-called legislation on “Prevention of harassment and punishment of persons in connection with events that occurred during peaceful demonstrations”, and set up a regulatory framework in Ukraine for committing crimes of hostage-taking and detention.
Accordingly, we affirm and demand that:
By close of business on 18.02.2014, the public authorities of Ukraine and all its power structures immediately and without preconditions release the hostages, stop their prosecution, and immediately cease any further detention or abduction of opponents of the regime. If this requirement is not met, we will insist that persons responsible for the seizure and detention of hostages subsequent to the above-mentioned date are declared “outlaws”.
We appeal to all citizens of Ukraine, as well as those of other countries, their governments and organisations – with effect from 02.18.2014 – to take measures to free the hostages and defeat the terrorist gangs, whose members were high-ranking officials of our country, and their subordinates by any means, proportionate to the gravity of the crime (international terrorism in the form of hostage-taking).
We strongly support the deployment of self-defence forces on Maidan in Kyiv and throughout Ukraine.
Approved unanimously on 16.02.2014 in Odessa.