Yanukovych special forces and snipers deliberately murder demonstrators at the Maidan


Today Viktor Yanukovych sent police or other special forces to the Maidan to deliberately fire at protesters with the pemeditated intent to kill them. Sooner or later he must personally answer for the commission of these crimes. After committing such crimes, he has clearly lost the legitimacy which his election to the presidency once conferred upon him.


Journal de 20 h, TV France2, 20 fevrier 2014 (video of six special forces snipers taking aim and shooting to kill, at minute 3:00).

David Blair (Kiev), “Ukraine crisis: Deadly snipers extinguish lives of Kiev’s protesters; Dispatch: ‘Professional’ snipers target the protesters of Independence Square, The Telegraph, February 20, 2014 (9:07PM GMT).

He cannot be allowed to continue to serve as President, or to run for office in new elections, after these crimes. The only way he can stay in power is through a self-imposed military coup, putting down the opposition with the brutal use of force.

The Ukraine teeters on the edge of violent military repression of the opposition. One should not assume that Vladimir Putin, “the butcher of the Caucasus” who committed massive atrocities in Chechnya to put down that rebellion, would not be willing to send Russian troops to the Ukraine if Yanukovych asked for “fraternal assistance” to help overcome an opposition revolution “orchestrated from abroad”. He has not hesitated, it should be recalled, to incur international criminal responsibility by assisting Bashar al-Assad in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.

Obama and his administration appear largely clueless, as evidenced by the revelation of Victoria Nuland making U.S. foreign policy toward the Ukraine on the fly, while dissing the efforts of the European Union with an unforgivable vulgarity which in a more competent administration would have already cost her her job.

We can only hope that stronger leadership in Europe, impelled by foreign ministers Laurent Fabius of France, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, and Radoslaw Sikorski of Poland, can provide the Western leadership that is required. American president Barack Obama is asleep in the backseat of the car, not even “driving from behind”.

The Trenchant Observer

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James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.