Friday, April 17, 2015CJFE is deeply concerned by the murder of Ukrainian journalist Oles Buzyna, which occurred yesterday outside of his home in Kiev. Buzyna, who has been described as holding “controversial pro-Russian” views, was shot dead by two masked individuals who immediately left the scene. As of April 17, no suspects had been apprehended, although the Ukrainian interior ministry has launched an investigation into Buzyna’s murder. Buzyna was previously the editor-in-chief of newspaper Segodnya until he left the paper after citing attempted censorship. The journalist also authored numerous articles on the country’s current political turmoil and conflict with Russia in the eastern region. Disturbingly, his killing came on the heels of the murder of another pro-Russian figure, former MP Oleh Kalashnikov who was similarly shot dead outside of his Kiev apartment and had reported threats against his life to friends and colleagues in the days before his murder. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko released a statement shortly after the murders, calling them “a deliberate provocation...aimed at destabilizing the internal political situation in Ukraine and discrediting the political choice of the Ukrainian people.” In addition to being a journalist, Buzyna was a key witness in investigations into the “Antimaidan” movement of early 2014, in which pro-Russian activists butted heads with opposition demonstrators in Maidan Square. Many other politicians in Kiev pointed fingers at Russian security services, with MP Volodymyr Ariev arguing that “[Buzyna’s murder] easily fits into the Russian narrative that Ukraine is all about fascists, a country where even basic right for life is violated.” Ukraine has long been a site of impunity for crimes against journalists; by establishing a motive and identifying and prosecuting the suspects in Buzyna’s murder, Ukrainian authorities can illustrate that this is no longer the case and that rule of law is alive and well in the country. CJFE urges the Ukrainian government to demonstrate its commitment to ending impunity and guaranteeing the right to free expression by seeking swift justice in this case.
This letter of concern was sent to Mr. Marko Shevchenko, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Ukraine in Canada. Cc: Mr. Roman Waschuk, Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs