Ukrainian court remands two juveniles into custody for murderous pogrom against Roma, Canada and USA condemn the racist violence
Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today that a Ukrainian court has remanded two juveniles into custody on suspicion of participating in last weekend's attack on a Romani camp near Lviv. The murderous attack, which the media ascribe to a little-known neo-Nazi youth organization, sparked concern over the rise of racial violence in the country.
Juliya Shevcenkova, the Lviv Prosecutor, told the AFP that "two juveniles are in custody," adding that six others await the court's decision. On Monday Canada and the USA condemned the murderous attack.
The group of masked assailants, armed with bars and knives, attacked the Romani camp late Saturday and early Sunday, killing a 24-year-old man and harming four other people, including a 10-year-old boy. According to the most recent information, after the attack on the Romani settlement in the forest on the outskirts of Lviv, police arrested a total of eight people, a 20-year-old suspected of organizing the assault and seven presumed assailants between the ages of 16 and 17 at the scene of the crime.
Previously reported numbers of arrests were lower. Serhiy Knyazev, head of the Ukrainian Police, told news server TSN that the weekend attack was meant to last four minutes at the most, according to the organizer's plan - and besides the eight arrested in the case there are another 14 suspects involved.
"This is a broader problem about society as a whole," the police chief noted. The attack was ascribed by the media to a neo-Nazi group called the "Sober and Evil Youth", which most probably was recently created and is followed by several dozen people on social networks.
The Embassy of the USA in Kyiv expressed outrage over the attack, while the Council of Europe, in a letter to the Ukrainian PM, called for a response to such attacks, which are spreading throughout Ukraine. "I am horrified by the attack on the Romani camp in Lviv. The perpetrators must be brought to trial, racist violence has no place either in Europe or Ukraine," the US Ambassador tweeted.
"The main role in this tragedy is being played by the feeling of impunity enjoyed by these self-appointed extremist militias. Ukraine is responsible for securing the dignity and the lives of all its citizens," said the Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine, Roma Waschuk, on Twitter, adding that the insufficient response by the relevant authorities was also to blame.
Concern over the eruptions of violence was also expressed by human rights defenders. According to Human Rights Watch, it is time to sound the alarm so the Ukrainian Police resolutely intervene against hate crimes.
"The events of the last two months testify to the fact that law enforcement is failing to secure the safety of ethnic minorities," said Zola Kondurova, the vice-chair of a Romani women's foundation in Ukraine. Neo-Nazis in Ukraine have been regularly assaulting Romani people for some time.
Prior to this last weekend they last did so on 7 June, when neo-Nazis from the Azov National Militia used axes and hammers during their attack on a Romani camp. That pogrom, which took place in a public park, was broadcast live on Facebook without police intervening.
In May, neo-Nazi criminals also attacked a Romani camp in the western city of Ternopil. That May attack was followed by arson against a Romani camp in the nearby village of Rudne in the Lviv Region.
In April members of the C14 neo-Nazi group drove Romani campers out of the Lysa Hora nature reserve in Kyiv. The masked assailants threw rocks and sprayed tear gas at Romani children, men and women.
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