• Press Release

Legacy of murdered activist must be an end of impunity for attackers in Ukraine

November 5, 2018

People hold placards and portraits of Gandzyuk in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in remembrance of Ukrainian anti-corruption campaigner Kateryna Gandzyuk, seriously injured in an acid attack in July 2018 and who died in the hospital today, in Kiev on November 4, 2018. - Gandzyuk, 33, who worked as an adviser to the mayor of Ukraine's southern city Kherson, was leaving home early on the morning of July 31, 2018 when a man poured about a litre of acid over her and ran away. (Photo by Genya SAVILOV / AFP) (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Responding to news that Kateryna Handzyuk, a prominent Ukrainian anti-corruption activist has died from injuries sustained three months ago in an acid attack, Oksana Pokalchuk, Amnesty International’s Ukraine Director, said:

“The death of this fearless civil society activist must spur the Ukrainian authorities into providing a credible answer to the question on everyone’s lips: who killed Kateryna Handzyuk? This answer will only come through an independent, impartial, effective and transparent investigation, the type of which we have not seen in so many cases.”

“The killing on Kateryna Handzyuk is the latest in a series of brutal attacks against civil society activists in Ukraine over the last year for which only a handful of actual perpetrators have been arrested and none of the people who ordered the attacks identified. The authorities have so far chosen to focus on a few individual cases and ignored the wider pattern and numerous specific instances, but this must now change.

“It is vital that Kateryna Handzyuk’s legacy should not be her work alone, but that her death should mark a line in the sand whereby the authorities ensure that anyone who harasses, intimidates or assaults civil society activists is brought to justice.”