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From one long awaited report to another – CoE Odessa

October 14, 2015

The headlines are full of MH17 – both that of the fantasy from the Almaz-Antey conference, and that of the long awaited Dutch Safety Board report.

To be quite blunt, the findings of the Dutch prosecutors to be announced in mid/late February 2016 is the report that is really one that should be long awaited, for that is where clear accusations of culpability will be found, rather than within a Safety Board report.

However, there is another long awaited report relating to Ukraine, and specifically Odessa, due imminently.

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On 22nd October (at least that is the proposed date), the Council of Europe is due to release its report into the tragic events of 2nd May 2014 in Odessa.

It is of course a very necessary report, for most assuredly the Ukrainian investigation will be flawed, having been deliberately frustrated and influenced, and will be without doubt falling far short of an investigation of serious quality.

It seems extremely likely to be an exceptionally uncomfortable experience for the Ukrainian authorities, and also those of Odessa – and rightly so.  It would be wise for the current authorities to take what is coming directly on the chin, rather than try to point the finger elsewhere in some kind of blame game.

It may well be that most of those directly involved in leading the violence have disappeared into the mists somehow.  It may be true that those then leading the institutions of State within the city are no longer in charge – but not all have disappeared or run away (yet) – yet the current national and city authorities have certainly made little effort to bring even the most prominent of offenders and/or the previous authorities to justice.

Even worse, their interactions with the victims families of either side have been somewhat less than compassionate, understanding, nor particularly honest.

As has become the trade-mark of the Poroshenko/Yatseniuk tandem, nobody of any importance is in jail for the crimes committed, and domestic investigations are known to be both flawed and deliberately glacial.

ECfHR claims from the surviving victims and deceased victims families of both sides are a certainty to follow what is close to a shambles of a domestic investigation – and the Council of Europe report will undoubtedly become part of their case against Ukraine.

Indeed, quite when the domestic investigation findings will be made public remains to be seen.  Perhaps they are deliberately being kept in abeyance until all external investigation reports have been publicised in order to mitigate (by way of last minute amendments) much of the well deserved criticism that will come.

One wonders, should names be named in the Council of Europe report, whether there will be any meaningful attempt at due process after crime scenes were compromised within minutes of the crimes, evidence chains have long since been compromised and broken, State “experts” have not exactly lived up to that definition, and the local expert-journalist group has once again done a far better job than the State investigative bodies both by way of investigation but also forcing due process momentum.

There will be some serious squirming when the Council of Europe report is released – not only by those involved at the time, but also those charged with the investigation  since.

Yet another self-inflicted inglorious moment is upon the immediate horizon for the political class and the institutions of State, both nationally and within the city – and deservedly so.

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