13.12.2002 | Oleksandr Stepanenko, Chortkiv

The chronicle of the events around the beatings in the Chortkiv militia precinct


On 16 October the permanent deputy commission of the oblast council in charge of the questions of legality and legal policy held the sitting. The commission considered my request to Major-General V. Maksimov, the head of the militia directorate of the Ternopil oblast, concerning the cases of beating people by the officers of the Chortkiv district precinct in 2002. To be more exact, the request concerned the cases of: M. Burtnik, who, after being beaten by militiamen on 7 June 2002, was taken to the surgeon ward of the Chortkiv district central hospital with the complicated polytrauma; Ya. Skrynik, 44-year-old, similar case on 18 June 2002; I. Makar, who was brutally beaten by militiamen before the eyes of his wife and children on 12 July 2002; O. Podolchuk, to whom, as the letter of his father reads, the illegal methods of „physical influence“ were applied during the detention and investigation, now Podolchuk is condemned. It is interesting, but I was not invited to the sitting of the commission and appeared at the sitting accidentally: I visited the oblast council on other affairs. V. Maksimov, who, by the way, is the head of the mentioned commission, quoted the results of the „service investigations“ conducted by the oblast militia directorate and prosecutor’s office. In all cases the investigation issued the following resolution (verbatim): „After the consideration of the existing materials, explanations of militiamen and the complaints of the above-mentioned citizens the investigation could not uncover any violations of the operating laws by the officers of the Chortkiv district militia directorate“. The conclusions of the service investigation were reported to the commission. In my opinion, these materials purposely distort the real facts. The intention is obvious to make the other side responsible for the conflict. For instance, the information on the case of Yu. Skrynik is overflowed with the comments on immorality and dissoluteness of this man. At the same time, the fact that Skrynik was beaten in the precinct is not refuted in any way. It is obvious that the investigators did not even meet with the victim, who did not deny the fact of beating, although did not turn to the prosecutor’s office.

In the case of O. Osadchuk the „proof of the legality“ was the list of the accusation items, according to which he was condemned (by the way, the repeated trial will be conducted), but there were no information whether any methods of physical pressure were applied to him.

The conclusion on the case of M. Burtnik is grounded on his own statement, in which he asserts that he got the traumas as a result of falling downstairs. Since I was present when M. Butnik was conveyed to the hospital, I may testify that this is a lie. The victim was received by two doctors having 20-year experience of practical work. Both of them were sure that it was impossible to get such traumas as a consequence of „falling downstairs“ – the man was beaten within an inch of his life. The fuss made by the militia at this night in the hospital was also rather transparent, and some of the militiamen honestly admitted: „our boys were too assiduous today“. That is typical that in any of these cases there are no references to medical case history. I want to quote a record from the case history of victim Ya. Skrynik made by doctor in charge Ya. Ratushniak: „the patient insists that he was beaten in the district militia precinct“. Further the description of the patient’s state is following: „The posture is forced, sitting… breathing is superficial, rapid, interrupted. Dried blood on the lips. Hemorrhage in the sclera of the right eye. Numerous injuries of the face. The external tissues of the thorax are painful with numerous haematomas and abrasions, the skin injury is present on the left side in the form of the boot sole. Harsh crepitation in the lungs… The abdomen is painful during palpation…“, etc. The similar state was established by the anesthetist, surgeon and traumatologist.

The investigation of the case of beating M. Makar is also based in this statement that he „has no complaints against the militiamen“. It is interesting that M. Makar does not deny that earlier he sent the complaint concerning the beating to ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva. I am sure that the fact that after some time the victims begin to deny the beating must not „amnesty“ the law-enforcers, who apply the physical violence to the people, whose rights they must protect. Moreover, if a person, who was beaten and humiliated, submits the impunity of his offenders, it means that he underwent not only the physical violence, but also the moral one.

And the question why the top militia officers are not interested in stopping crime in their agency is the topic for another, not less disturbing discussion. After all, the head of the oblast directorate satisfied, although only orally, the information request of the local correspondents of the bulletin „Prava ludyny“ concerning the cases, where law-enforcers where punished for the cruel treatment of the detained. V. Molsimov declared that there were no such cases during the last three years, although two officers were dismissed from the oblast militia for driving car being drunk.

However, if all the „service investigations“ are conducted as described above, there are serious reasons to have some doubts as to this idyll.

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