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  • 01 Mar 2014 10:06 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

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    By Victor Rud

    Which of the following are statements by Vladimir Putin, his Foreign Minister
    Sergei Lavrov or other Kremlin spokesmen, and which are by Western media,
    academics, politicians and commentators: "Ukraine and Russia share deep
    historical and cultural roots," "Russia traces its 1000 year history to its
    beginnings in Kiev", Ukraine is really "Little Russia," "the Russian Orthodox
    Church originated in Kiev", "thousand years of Russian Christianity", "lJkraine
    is a part of Russia", Russia and Ukraine are not separate countries," "Russia
    is a thousand year old state," "Kievan Russia was the beginning of the modern
    Russia," "Ukrainians and Russians are brotherly nations"?

    There is no distinction between who said any of the above. Each statement has
    been repeated, for a century in the United States and longer by the Kremlin.
    Such remarkable unanimity reflects either recognition of the same historical
    record, or the recognition of the same historical mythology. If the latter, how
    and why in American academe and politics is that mythology declared with
    such certitude by those who should know better, thereby facilitating a
    historical hologram?

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  • 25 Feb 2014 9:28 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)


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  • 24 Feb 2014 9:36 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

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    February 6, 2014
    By: Myroslaw Smorodsky

    On February 6, 2014, Reuters reported that a senior Kremlin aide has accused the United States of interference in Ukrainian affairs which "breached the 1994 treaty under which Washington and Moscow jointly guaranteed Ukraine's security and sovereignty after Kiev gave up its Soviet-era nuclear arsenal."  The Kremlin's accusations are the height of unabashed hypocrisy and chutzpah. By going on the offensive, Russia is attempting to camouflage its own flagrant transgressions of the security assurances it gave to Ukraine in 1994.

    After the fall of the Soviet Union and its declaration of independence on August 24, 1991, Ukraine became the third largest nuclear power in the world having more nuclear warheads than France and Great Britain combined!  Twenty years ago, at the behest of the United States and Russia, Ukraine agreed to remove and to have destroyed all nuclear weapons on its territory.  All that Ukraine asked in return was to be given security assurances by the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom upon its accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state.  These security assurances were given on December 5, 1994 and are commonly known as the Budapest Memorandum.  On the basis of these assurances, Ukraine surrendered approximately 1900 nuclear warheads.

    The Budapest Memorandum states in part:

    The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind.

    On December 19, 2008, in a joint statement by US President George W. Bush and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, the importance of these security assurances was reaffirmed upon the signing of the United States – Ukraine Charter On Strategic Partnership.  One year later, on December 4, 2009, the security assurances, [given to Ukraine in return for its surrender of its nuclear armaments], were reconfirmed by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev.

    Sadly, the security assurances of the Budapest Memorandum that were so loudly touted by the United States as a model for nuclear disarmament were recently blatantly violated by Russia when it exerted its economic power to blackmail and coerce Ukraine to digress from its freely chosen path of economic integration with the European Union.  Even the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, admitted this was the motivating factor in his last minute refusal to go forward with the negotiated EU Association Agreement.  Nor is there any reasonable quarrel that Russia's egregiously coercive actions towards Ukraine were in direct contravention of the 1994 Trilateral Agreement and the Budapest Memorandum. 

    One would have expected the United States, as party to the Budapest Memorandum, to vociferously react - at the highest political level - to Russia's breach of the security assurances it gave to Ukraine. After all, this was the quid pro quo for Ukraine surrendering its nuclear weapons of mass destruction - defensive as well as offensive.  These security promises were reaffirmed by the presidents of the signatory countries.  The Budapest Memorandum itself provides that the signatories "...will consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments".  Moreover, it is the United States' long term strategic goal to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other countries - such as Iran - and to reduce the existing nuclear arsenals around the world.  Regrettably, in face of the obvious breach of the security assurances promised by Russia in the Budapest Memorandum, all that has been heard from the United States on the subject is deafening silence.

    There is an old adage - "a man is only as good as his word".  This proverb applies equally to countries and the manner in which they comply with international agreements - most importantly, when it comes to nuclear disarmament and related security promises.  It is self evident that Russia's blatantly coercive behavior towards Ukraine evidences that the Kremlin has absolutely no regard or respect for any international agreement to which it is a signatory and believes that it is entitled to arrogantly ignore such accords at will and with impunity.  The Kremlin has now put the world on notice that any international promise that Russia makes - especially in nuclear nonproliferation and security assurance agreements - is subject to caveat emptor -- buyer beware!

    However, the deafening silence from the United States also has had direct and significantly detrimental consequences.  Realizing that its crass and brazen coercion of Ukraine resulted in no penalty [or even muted criticism of this overt transgression of the Budapest Memorandum], the defaulting party - Russia - is emboldened to potentially violate other international agreements to which it is now a signatory or will be in the future.  Moreover, the Kremlin has now taken advantage of the United States' silence and has gone on the offensive and is making blatantly absurd accusations that the United States is violating the Budapest Memorandum.  Russia is attempting to have America explain itself rather than vice versa.  The Putin administration has clearly learned the old football strategy  "the best defense is a good offense".

    America's failure to take any responsive action also corrodes and undermines its credibility in the international arena.  The United States has always prided itself on its veracity and credibility proclaiming that Americans always "stand by their word".  In light of America's inaction vis-à-vis Russia's breach of the security assurances given to Ukraine, why should Iran, or the warring parties in Syria, or even Israel, have any faith in the security assurances that were or will be given in any disarmament negotiations or peace talks?  If Russia is a party to such future agreements, why should any participant expect the United States to stand up to the Kremlin if Russia were to again breach its future security commitments as it did with Ukraine? 

    The United States needs to take a long, hard look and reevaluate its foreign-policy strategy towards Russia. If Russia is to be a necessary co-participant in international negotiations, then the United States government should nevertheless have the political and moral courage - at the highest political level - to criticize and take positive and definitive steps to thwart such behavior when the Kremlin audaciously transgresses its security commitments.  If America continues to remain conspicuously silent in response to the Kremlin's trampling of its security assurances given to Ukraine in the Budapest Memorandum, then the United States role as a world leader will be greatly diminished and the future security of America will be threatened.  Promises should not be made only to be broken without consequence - especially when the promises involve weapons of mass destruction.

    Myroslaw Smorodsky, Esq.
    Attorney, New Jersey Bar
    Communications Director of the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA)Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of Governors of the UABA,
    Former Public Member of the United States Delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation  in Europe (CSCE) Madrid, 1980

    ED NOTE: an earlier Ukrainian language version of this Article was published on February 6, 2014 in the Ukrainian Law Journal, [Юридичний Вісник України]  Kyiv, Ukraine.

  • 24 Feb 2014 8:56 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)


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  • 22 Feb 2014 2:51 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    PRESS RELEASE  February 22, 2014  2:35 PM New York Time


    OF FEBRUARY 22, 2014
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  • 05 Feb 2014 12:10 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)


     Громадської Комісії з розслідування та

    попередження порушень прав людини в Україні


    Statement of the Public Commission to Investigate Human Rights Violations in Ukraine


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  • 05 Feb 2014 11:37 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Ukrainian Lawyers Petition Concerning Current Situation in the Country

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    The text below is the English translation of the petition by the Ukrainian lawyers, which was first published on 10 February 2014 at http://www.petitions247.com/lawyers_on_crisis. The signatures can be found at the following link:   http://www.petitions247.com/signatures/lawyers_on_crisis/.    It was originally signed by a group of prominent Ukrainian lawyers, many of them regularly appearing in the annual list of the Hundred Best Lawyers of Ukraine by Yurydychna Gazeta (a leading legal publication in Ukraine).  Since then many lawyers have joined this petition with the number of signatures reaching 381.  

    We, the undersigned professional lawyers, cannot and will not accept the utter lawlessness that has unraveled in front of our eyes for more than two months in Ukraine.  Even more so, the events of the past few weeks evidence that the violations of law and the elementary basics of human morality by the government authorities became not only massive, but also systematic in nature.

    Thanks to heroic and sacrificial work of hundreds of journalists and civil activists, the entire nation has seen the undeniable proof of mass crimes perpetrated by all branches of Ukrainian government:

    o   parliament members are voting for the bills that they do not read, pressured by those they must control and keep in check,
    o   law enforcement is protecting law-offenders and is torturing peaceful demonstrators,
    o   courts knowingly issue unlawful decisions without due process, and often completely ignoring the evidence in the case.
    These unlawful criminal acts have become so widespread and public that it is no longer possible to cover them up with any declarations or creative interpretation of facts.  It is revealing that not a single act of the abuse of power was ever adequately addressed by the government authorities.

    Unfortunately, we have to recognize that the main reason for what is happening has been a continuous demolition of key principles for establishment and functioning of all branches of government authority in Ukraine.   At present the entire government apparatus has turned itself into a money-making machine, forsaking its main and only function - to serve the people of Ukraine.

    This process had its start before the current leadership came to power, but during their rule it reached its peak threatening not only the national economy, but also the very livelihood and health of all citizens of the country.   Thousands of lives have been devastated, millions have lost their trust in the rule of law and in those called to defend it.

    Considering the catastrophic situation with both the conditions of human rights and with the overall functioning of Ukrainian State, we :
    o   are prepared to present all available evidence collected by us and our analysis for the assessment of the acts committed by representatives of the government authorities;
    o   ask all concerned lawyers to unite for jointly establishing all facts of law violations, for giving them professional assessment and for defending the victims;
    o   demand from all civil and professional organizations that aim to represent the  interests of the legal community, including:
         o   Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA),
         o   Ukrainian Lawyers Union,
         o   Union of Advocates of Ukraine,
         o   Ukrainian National Bar Association,
    to urgently define their position concerning the situation in the country, and to issue their juridical assessment of the acts of government authorities.  We shall consider the absence of such officially stated position as their full and unconditional consent with the lawlessness perpetrated by the governmental authorities;

    o   we demand from all branches of the government on all levels to stop this lawlessness, and to begin the dialogue with the society about structural reforms of the government, including the law enforcement and court system;
    o   we remind to all our colleagues, uniformed or not, to all civil servants, that there is always a choice of refusing to commit an unlawful act, a choice to quit and preserve human dignity. 

    From our end, we will provide maximum support in bringing to justice the representatives of government  authorities responsible for violations of the law, without any statue of limitations for  holding them accountable.
    Signed: The signatures can be found at the following link:

    The petition by the Ukrainian lawyers, which was first published on 10 February 2014 at http://www.petitions247.com/lawyers_on_crisis

  • 02 Feb 2014 10:13 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

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    By Victor Rud


     It would be hypocrisy to deny that an independent Ukraine is as essential to this country as to the tranquility of the world. Very few attempts have been made to give justice to the Ukrainians and the continued neglect . . .may ultimately involve all Europe.”  Lancelot Lawton, House of Commons, London, 1935. 

    “Whether Russian led integration on the territory of the former USSR will pose a serious, long-term military challenge to the West, depends in large part on the role that Ukraine plays or is compelled to play. . . . Ukraine will do much to determine whether Europe and the world in the twenty-first century will be as bloody as they were in the twentieth.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1997.


  • 31 Jan 2014 1:36 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Top legal experts have created a Commission to Investigate Human Rights Violations in Ukraine

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    Well-respected experts in the field of law and former political prisoners are gathering evidence for a Special Tribunal regarding human rights violations during the peaceful protests in Ukraine.

    The organizers of the Commission held a news conference on January 29, 2014 at the press centre of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.

    The purpose of the Commission is to investigate human rights violations that occurred while citizens were exercising their right to peaceful assembly, beginning on November 30, 2013. The commission is the first step toward establishing a tribunal for criminals guilty of murdering, severely injuring, torturing and kidnapping Ukrainian citizens.

    "With a highest sense of responsibility to the people of Ukraine, expressing deep concern over the status of individual rights and freedoms in Ukraine, taking into account the socio-political situation prevailing in the country and the need for urgent action, today, January 27, 2014 in Kyiv, having been authorized by members of the inaugural assembly, we announce the establishment of the Commission to Investigate Human Rights Violations in Ukraine which will act on an ongoing basis"- states the inaugural document, signed by the founders of the Commission.

    The structure and plans of the Commission were described by the following members at the press conference: Volodymyr Vasylenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, Professor, National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (NaUKMA), Doctor of Law, Judge of the International Tribunal in the former Yugoslavia 2002-2005, as well as the Ukrainian Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council in 1989-1991, 1995-1998, 2005, 2006-2010; Oleg Berezyuk, president of the Ukrainian Legal Society; Mykola Siryy, Doctor of Law, Senior Research Fellow at the VM Koretsky Institute of State and Law, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; Volodymyr Viatrovych, Doctor of History, activist in the NGO Civic Sector.

    The Commission brought together 12 influential lawyers, as well as human rights activists and former political prisoners. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, Judge of the International Tribunal in the former Yugoslavia, NaUKMA Professor, Doctor of Law Vladimir Vasylenko was elected head of the Commission. Members include: Volodymyr Vasylenko, Oleg Berezyuk, Stanislav Shevchuk, Joseph Zissels, Evhen Sverstiuk, Vasyl Kysil, Mykola Kozyubra, Danylo Kurdelchuk, Mykola Siryy, Vasyl Ovsiyenko, Myroslava Antonovych, Stanislav Batryn; secretary of the Commission Yuriy Kushnir.

    Historian and Civic Sector of the Euromaidan activist Volodymyr Viatrovych opened the press conference of the Commission founders by stressing that the establishment of such an independent commission gives hope to thousands of Ukrainians that massive human rights violations will be recorded and their perpetrators punished.

    "I have taken part in the last three revolutions in Ukraine, and even the communist regime of 1989-91 did not commit such actions,” said Volodymyr Vasylenko.  “We will independently collect and systematize data that will become the basis for the Special Tribunal.”  He explained that in the European Convention on Human Rights there exists the specific opportunity for one of the Member States to submit a claim to the European Court of Human Rights that crimes against humanity are being perpetrated in another country.

    The Commission will work in three main areas - the restoration of violated rights of citizens, a public awareness campaign, and the compilation of a “Black Book of Violations of Human Rights in Ukraine."  Working groups will be assigned for each of these projects. Commission members described the nature of each of these projects.

    Promoting the restoration of violated rights of citizens (team leader Stanislav Batryn, Doctor of Law, Junior Research Fellow at the VM Koretsky Institute of State and Law, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine): collecting primary data; publishing information about the violations of human rights; monitoring law enforcement’s investigation of human rights violations; assessing the adherence to the guarantee a fair trial; preparing reports on human rights violations and referring them to international institutions.

    “As citizens, we cannot support the proposal that is currently being discussed in Parliament to release “Berkut” from criminal responsibility - this cannot be allowed to happen in a lawful country. The Commission will prepare an independent opinion for the Parliament on the facts and on the perpetrators of human rights violations to specifically address this subject. Committee Members are not allies of the opposition nor the government - they are allies of their belief in the rule of law , "- explained Stanislav Batryn.

    Public-awareness and outreach(team leader Oleg Berezyuk, head of the Ukrainian Legal Society, social activist, human rights activist): informing individuals and organizations about their rights and responsibilities and how they are to conduct themselves at massive demonstrations; informing law enforcement authorities how they are to conduct themselves in the face of massive demonstrations; communicating with law enforcement and other government agencies to prevent human rights violations, stop the violations immediately if they occur, and provide unbiased information for the investigation of violations of human rights; communicate with international institutions on the subject of human rights in Ukraine .

    "The impotence of law enforcement officials,” said Oleg Berezyuk, “resulted in some politicians acting in ways which created an opportunity for declaring a state of emergency."

    Formation of a "Black Book of Violations of Human Rights in Ukraine" (team leader Mykola Siryy, Doctor of Law, Senior Research Fellow at the VM Koretsky Institute of State and Law, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) has plans to collect and systematize information confirmed in accordance with the law about human rights violations in Ukraine, grouping together cases of human rights violations using criteria appropriate for their evaluation by international institutions, public documentation of human rights violations in the form of the creation of a “Black Book of Violations of Human Rights in Ukraine."

    "Our key task is to organize all cases of human rights violations, highlight typical cases, outline the trends and patterns that will provide an overall assessment of events.”  said Mykola Siriy.  “What distinguishes the crimes that are now being committed is that they have dual jurisdiction: national and international. Systematization will show general trends and help determine which of the international institutions Ukrainians should seek justice from. Such institutions may not yet exist; they may need to be formed after the fact, as the Nuremburg Tribunal was.”

    Contact for media (063) 286-68-69

    Secretary of the Commission lawyer Yuriy Kushnir (067) 233-81-74


    Composition of the Commission to investigate human rights violations in Ukraine:

    Chairman: Volodymyr Vasylenko, Doctor of Law, Professor, National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal in the Former Yugoslavia.

    Members of the Commission:

    ·        Oleg Berezyuk, head of the Ukrainian Legal Society, social activist and human rights activist.

    ·        Stanislav Shevchuk, Doctor of Law, professor, corresponding member of the National Academy of Legal Studies of Ukraine, Judge of the European Court of Human Rights ad hoc.

    ·        Joseph Zissels, executive vice president of the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine, social activist, dissident.

    ·        Evhen Sverstiuk, writer, Doctor of Philosophy, former political prisoner, member of the Action Committee “The First December Initiative Group ".

    ·        Vasyl Kysil, Doctor of Law, Professor of International Relations, Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv.

    ·        Mykola Kozyubra, Doctor of Law, Professor, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (1996-2003).

    ·        Danylo Kurdelchuk, Honoured Lawyer of Ukraine, vice president of the World Congress of Ukrainian Lawyers, member of the Presidential Council of the Ukrainian Association of International Law.

    ·        Mykola Siryy, Doctor of Law, Senior Research Fellow at the VM Koretsky Institute of State and Law, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

    ·        Vasyl Ovsiyenko, member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group since 1978, human rights activist.

    ·        Myroslava Antonovych, Doctor of Law, Chair of International Law, National University of “Kyiv- Mohyla Academy”.

    ·        Stanislav Batryn, Doctor of Law, Junior Research Fellow at the VM Koretsky Institute of State and Law, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

    Secretary of the Commission: lawyer Yuriy Kushnir.

    ED NOTE: Volodymyr Vassylenko and  Danylo M. Kurdelchuk are also associate members of the Ukrainian American Bar Association

    see link https://euromaidanpr.wordpress.com/tag/human-rights/
  • 22 Jan 2014 12:14 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)


    condemning the recently "adopted laws" in Ukraine

    On January 16, 2013, the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine, in a crass and brazen violation of Ukraine's Constitution - allegedly "adopted" a series of repressive laws quite obviously aimed at quashing the Ukrainian people's right of assembly, freedom of speech, and other human rights with which they are endowed. This draconian "legislation" was quickly signed by President Yanukovych despite the fact that a mere cursory review of these "laws" discloses that they callously violate all international norms of justice and decency, and the rule of law accepted by all civilized nations. 

    The Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA), in the strongest terms possible, condemns the actions of the Verkhovna Rada and President Yanukovych in adopting and implementing this "legislation" which destroys democracy and causes Ukraine to revert back to a Stalinist-like society.


    що засуджує недавно "прийняті закони" в Україні

    16 січня 2013, Верховна Рада України, грубо і нахабно порушуючи Конституцію України - нібито «прийняла» серію репресивних законів цілком спрямованих на скасування права українського народу на свободу зібрання,  слова та загально у світі прийнятих інших прав людини. Ці драконівські " закони" були швидко підписані президентом Януковичем, незважаючи на те, що навіть читаючи їх поверхово, кожному ясно що вони грубо порушують як всі міжнародні норми справедливості і порядності, так і загально прийняте всіми цивілізованими народами поняття що це таке законна влада.

    Членство Асоціації Українських Правників Америки (UABA) одноголосно та найрішучішим голосом засуджує дії Верховної Ради та президента Януковича за прийняття так званого "законодавства" які продають Україну в нове рабстґво, руйнуть демократію і ставлять сторозтерзану Україну на шлях до сталінізму.

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